Shakespeare and The Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Stage

Fiona Ritchie

in The Edinburgh Companion to Shakespeare and the Arts

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780748635238
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652297 | DOI:
Shakespeare and The Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Stage

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This chapter addresses how Shakespeare became the point of reference for theatrical adaptation. It reports that Shakespeare was not necessarily canonized during the Restoration. Rather, related to the promulgation of neoclassical ideals, the stress on morality, the rise of the female actress, and the predilection for rewriting dramatic endings so as to suit contemporary taste, Shakespeare became, by the end of the eighteenth century, an alternatively conceived figure, one more in keeping with an incipient bardolatry. The Restoration was an important era for Shakespeare adaptation. The Restoration adaptations are particularly significant since many of them constituted the versions in which Shakespeare was performed throughout the eighteenth century. The Restoration and eighteenth century firmly established Shakespeare's place on the British stage, ensuring that his legacy continued in performance and in print. But Shakespeare could only be popularized once he had been made to fit the taste of the times.

Keywords: Shakespeare; Restoration; theatrical adaptation; eighteenth century; female actress; morality; dramatic endings

Chapter.  10561 words. 

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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