David Francis Taylor

in Theatres of Opposition

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199642847
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738869 | DOI:

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  • Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)
  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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In this conclusion, I use graphic satires by the likes of James Gillray, Isaac Cruikshank, and William Dent as a means of both reaffirming and problematizing Sheridan’s ‘theatrical politics’. Sheridan appeared in close to 500 political caricatures during his life, and a survey of these prints—which frequently appropriated the characters and vocabularies of his own plays, of Shakespeare’s works, and of the pantomime—shows how entrenched tensions between the propriety of parliament and the supposed impropriety of the playhouse provided a constant impediment to Sheridan’s political aspirations. The language of drama deployed in caricatures of Sheridan was powerfully charged with particular social and moral values: theatrical politics becomes, in such graphic satire, a lower-class politics of insincerity.

Keywords: cartoon; caricature; graphic satire; Shakespeare; Sheridan; pantomime; Harlequin; class; insincerity

Chapter.  9089 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights) ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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