Charlotte : A True Account of an Actress's Extraordinary Adventure in Eighteenth-Century London's Theatre World

  • Hardback
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Eighteenth-century London was a theatre writ large: Fielding's satires mocked the Prime Minister, The Beggar's Opera drew raves, and riots broke out over dueling divas of the stage. Spectacle abounded: aristocratic ladies paraded past fire-eaters, prostitutes, and public hangings. Mrs Mapp, the bone-setter, realigned butchers' kneecaps for happy crowds. Yet Charlotte was rarely overlooked. Every day of her life was a grand performance. Born into the famous, sometimes scandalous, theatrical clan of Colley Cibber, Charlotte was an actress destined for greatness. But she would rebel, and start dressing as a man. When her father disowned her, her life became an adventure extending from the pinnacles of posh London to its dangerous depths.Kathryn Shevelow captures Charlotte - an artist, a survivor - in all her guises, from her time among the leading lights of glamorous Drury Lane Theatre to her trials as a strolling player and puppeteer, to her comeback as author of one of the first autobiographies written by a woman.
A story of a woman's determination to be herself, "Charlotte" is a tale of pluck and perseverance set against the rich tapestry of a great city, the characters of its colourful theatre world, its history, and savage political battles.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • 162 x 236 x 40mm | 780.19g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Illustrations, ports.
  • 0747574944
  • 9780747574941

About Kathryn Shevelow

A specialist in eighteenth-century British literature and culture, Kathryn Shevelow has been an award-winning professor at the University of California in San Diego for twenty years. She lives in Solana Beach, California.
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Review quote

'Precocious, gifted, charismatic, and eccentric, Charlotte Charke illuminated the eighteenth century with the fleeting brightness of a shooting star. Kathryn Shevelow has written a remarkable book which admirably captures this most elusive of social rebels' Amanda Foreman, author of GEORGIANA 'A fascinating account of this eccentric dynamo's adventures in eighteenth-century trade, theatre and love, Shevelow's book should win Charlotte Charke the multitudes of admirers she deserves' Emma Donoghue, author of SLAMMERKIN and LIFE MASK 'Charlotte is a remarkably learned and even more remarkably entertaining history - not only of a truly fascinating and startlingly-original woman, but also of her times and culture. Kathryn Shevelow brings to life the madness, absurdity and baseness of 18th-century Britain, and the recreates for modern readers the fascinating peculiarities of its theater world. This is a brilliant piece of popular history' David Liss, author of A CONSPIRACY OF PAPER and THE COFFEE-TRADER
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