W.S. Gilbert: A Classic Victorian and His Theatre

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Oxford University Press, 1996 - Composers - 374 pages
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W. S. Gilbert was one of the giants of nineteenth-century Victorian theatre. He was already the leading young dramatist of his day when he began his celebrated collaboration with Arthur Sullivan, a partnership that produced the great Savoy Operas--still the most popular light operas in the world--and established him at the pinacle of his craft. Now, in W. S. Gilbert: A Classic Victorian and His Theatre, Jane W. Stedman provides an insightful biography of this major theatrical figure.
To write this biography, Stedman has returned to the original sources, has talked or corresponded with survivors of Gilbert's generation who knew him, researched deeply into Victorian publications such as Punch, Athenaeum, and Theatre, and has had access to hitherto unpublished materials. The result is not only the most accurate biography of Gilbert ever written, but also the most finely textured, revealing a Gilbert of more complexity and interest than has emerged before. Stedman covers his entire career, including his early journalism, his writing of the Bab Ballads (which are still in print today), theatrical works such as The Palace of Truth, The Wicked World, and Pygmalion and Galatea, and of course his collaboration with Arthur Sullivan. The author also illuminates Gilbert's private life, including a hitherto undiscovered early romantic attachment, and his life-long work for the social acceptance of the theatre and of theatre people, both on and off the stage.
A perfect companion volume to Arthur Jacobs's Arthur Sullivan: A Victorian Musician, this deeply researched, vividly written biography will enthrall all fans of Gilbert and Sullivan and anyone interested in the Victorian theatre.

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W.S. GILBERT: A Classic Victorian and His Theatre

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Stedman, editor of a collection of Gilbert's non-G&S works (Gilbert Before Sullivan, 1967), now offers a solid, stylish, well- researched critical biography—which effectively emphasizes the Victorian ... Read full review

W. S. Gilbert: a classic Victorian and his theatre

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Lovers of Gilbert and Sullivan will be in heaven with the publication of these two books, which nicely complement each other. Stedman (English, Roosevelt Univ., Chicago) offers an outstanding study of ... Read full review


A Miscellany of Beginnings
First Pages
First Stages
Love Marriage Farce and Burlesque
Babs Reeds and Druidesses
Burlesque into Fairy Play
A Wicked WorldA Happy Land
Problem Plays and Sweethearts
A Short Chapter on Method
The Mikado and After
Doing and Undoing
Stringing the Lyre with a Tangled Skein
The Road to Utopia
Other VoicesOther Tunes
Growing on the Sunny Side
Quick Curtain

Operatical Comical Tragical
Storms and Clear Sailing
Not Poetic but Aesthetic
At the Savoy

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About the author (1996)

About the Author:
Jane W. Stedman is Emeritus Professor of English at Roosevelt University, in Chicago. A recognized authority on W. S. Gilbert, she is the author of Gilbert Before Sullivan.

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