Chapter

1836–1853 Gilbert: A Dramatic Childhood; Sullivan: A Musical Background

Michael Ainger

in Gilbert and Sullivan

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780195147698
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849437 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195147698.003.0002
1836–1853 Gilbert: A Dramatic Childhood; Sullivan: A Musical Background

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William Gilbert gave two short accounts of autobiography to magazines: one to The Theatre in 1883 and another to the Strand in 1893. They are pithy and amusing, and their similarity suggests an often-told tale. The early part, concerning his beginnings, is quickly passed over in what turns out to be a series of little smokescreens. Thomas Sullivan had received his basic training in music in the band at the Royal Asylum, where he had shown genuine talent, and now, as a bandsman in the army, was entering in a humble but very real way on his own musical career. Thomas was befriended by the Coghlan family and came to know them well, especially the girl he was later to marry, Mary Clementina Coghlan. When he was 29, after 14 years in the army, Thomas Sullivan left on December 31, 1834 to begin life as a civilian.

Keywords: William Gilbert; autobiography; magazines; The Theatre; Strand; Thomas Sullivan; music; Royal Asylum; army; Mary Clementina Coghlan

Chapter.  5967 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Popular Music

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