Nineteenth-Century Major Lives and Letters

Staging Romantic Chameleons and Imposters

Authors: Brewer, William D.

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About this book

Examining chameleonic identities as seen in theatrical performances and literary texts during the Romantic period, this study explores cultural attitudes toward imposture and how it reveals important and much-debated issues about this time period. Brewer shows chameleonism evoked anxieties about both social instability and British selfhood.

About the authors

William D. Brewer is Professor of English at Appalachian State University, USA.

Reviews

“William D. Brewer’s Staging Romantic Cha-meleons and Imposters proposes a broad definition of theatricality that moves from the stage to the page and from the world of fiction to real-life imposters. … This book will interest not only scholars of the period’s drama but also students of, say, Keatsian poetics or Byronic mobility.” (Recent Studies in the Nineteenth Century, Vol. 56 (4), Autumn, 2016) 



"Brewer cleverly distinguishes unique aspects of Romantic chameleons and imposters, both real and fictive, that sets them apart from a long history of deceptive behaviors in British culture." - Marjean D. Purinton, Professor of English, Texas Tech University, USA

"Brewer's book is wholly original, carefully researched, and generally fascinating. It brings to light certain aspects of Romantic-period popular culture of which scholars who have browsed the periodical press of the 1780s and '90s have only shadowy conceptions. Brewer contributes much to recent scholarship on celebrity, sociability, and radical politics in the period, while also proving himself to be an incisive reader of comedy by such protean talents as Richard Cumberland, Hannah Cowley, Thomas Holcroft, and Mary Robinson who set the stage, as it were, for the likes of Byron and Dickens." - Daniel Robinson, Homer C. Nearing Jr. Distinguished Professor of English, Widener University, USA

"Lucid and wide-ranging, Staging Romantic Chameleons and Imposters extends current scholarly interest in Romantic theatricality and performative subjectivity in new directions by bringing critical attention to the ubiquitous but overlooked figure of the chameleon in Romantic culture and writing. It illuminates the literary and historical context - the Romantic backstory - of our contemporary culture of identity theft and simulacra. This rich, encyclopedic study of an intriguing and pivotal figure reveals chameleonism to be at the very heart of Romantic culture, well before John Keats took the Wordsworthian ego to task." - Ashley Cross, Professor of English, Manhattan College, USA

"Noting that the expanding credit economy of the latter 18th century gave rise to social instability, crimes by impersonators, and anxieties about depersonalization, Brewer will strike a nerve among his readers who cannot help but be reminded of present-day scams of identity theft. Not losing sight of a social structure inundated by hoaxers and hustlers, posers and pretenders, Brewer devotes his attention primarily to the drama of the age which featured again and again, plots and characters involving disguise, deception, and assumed identities. As they encounter many familiar characters, readers will be enthralled by Brewer's compelling narrative and the rich interweaving with which he establishes chameleonic performance as a master pose of Romantic theatre." - Frederick Burwick, Research Professor of English, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

"William D. Brewer's Staging Romantic Chameleons and Imposters dazzlingly advances revisionist scholarship on identity and theatricality during the Romantic Period. Documenting a preoccupation with shape shifting characters on stage and in other settings, Brewer devises a typology of chameleons and a theory of chameleonism that reveal the complexity of Romantic-era notions of the self. Arguing convincingly that playwrights, actors, audiences, poets, and philosophers embraced the positive potential of a reformable self even while worrying about pretenders and deceivers, this book leads readers through a fascinating exhibition and analysis of social performances." - Regina Hewitt, Professor of English, University of South Florida, USA

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook £45.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-38719-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £58.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-38921-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover £55.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-349-48232-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • This title is currently reprinting. You can pre-order your copy now.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Staging Romantic Chameleons and Imposters
Authors
Series Title
Nineteenth-Century Major Lives and Letters
Copyright
2015
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
Copyright Holder
Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Nature America Inc.
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-38719-6
DOI
10.1057/9781137387196
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-38921-3
Softcover ISBN
978-1-349-48232-0
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIII, 255
Topics