By Alma J. Bennett

Whereas the historical past of yank theatre has been extensively documented, the background of its girl reviewers has been often neglected. This booklet seeks to right that oversight via exploring the position of the good woman American critics, thereby increasing their canonical prestige. The anthology offers a short description of the women's lives, their operating stipulations, samples in their writing, and helping analyses. For a few readers, it will be a primary stumble upon with ladies who should be represented within the American theatre in their instances and well-known for his or her contributions to the improvement of dramatic concept and feedback.

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The introduction to this essay is a poem (actually a miniessay) that supports the themes of the essay. ” Just as Murray’s writing career was becoming successful, her personal life was becoming more stressful. On the death of her husband, John Stevens, in 1787, her financial problems reinforced her views that women needed to be prepared to take care of themselves, whether single or widowed. She believed education was the way to do this. In 1788, Judith Stevens married the Universalist minister John Murray.

From an early age, she sought a more thorough education in spite of the prohibition against serious schooling for girls. She begged for an introduction to the classics, and when her parents did not comply, Judith began her own education, reading voraciously everything from the ancient Greeks to Shakespeare to contemporary romance novels. In a letter to Winthrop, in September 1803, she wrote her feelings about the importance of an education. ”1 At the age of 18, on October 3, 1769, Judith married John Stevens, also a sea captain and merchant.

But so far are we from evincing this predilection that even performances, decidedly meritorious, are almost forgotten. Tyler’s plays are strangely neglected; and the finished scenes of the correct and elegant Mrs. Warren, have never yet passed in review before an American audience. Was the American taste decidedly in favour of native worth, the superintendents of the Drama would find it for their interest to cherish indigenous abilities, and the influence of patronage would invigorate and rear to maturity the now drooping plant.

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