Carrying All before Her: Celebrity Pregnancy and the London Stage, 1689-1800 (Performing Celebrity) (Hardcover)

Carrying All before Her: Celebrity Pregnancy and the London Stage, 1689-1800 (Performing Celebrity) By Chelsea Phillips Cover Image

Carrying All before Her: Celebrity Pregnancy and the London Stage, 1689-1800 (Performing Celebrity) (Hardcover)

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The rise of celebrity stage actresses in the long eighteenth century created a class of women who worked in the public sphere while facing considerable scrutiny about their offstage lives. Such powerful celebrity women used the cultural and affective significance of their reproductive bodies to leverage audience support and interest to advance their careers, and eighteenth-century London patent theatres even capitalized on their pregnancies. Carrying All Before Her uses the reproductive histories of six celebrity women (Susanna Mountfort Verbruggen, Anne Oldfield, Susannah Cibber, George Anne Bellamy, Sarah Siddons, and Dorothy Jordan) to demonstrate that pregnancy affected celebrity identity, impacted audience reception and interpretation of performance, changed company repertory and altered company hierarchy, influenced the development and performance of new plays, and had substantial economic consequences for both women and the companies for which they worked. Deepening the fields of celebrity, theatre, and women's studies, as well as social and medical histories, Phillips reveals an untapped history whose relevance and impact persists today.

CHELSEA PHILLIPS is an associate professor of theatre at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. 
Product Details ISBN: 9781644532492
ISBN-10: 1644532492
Publisher: University of Delaware Press
Publication Date: January 14th, 2022
Pages: 304
Language: English
Series: Performing Celebrity
"Phillips's most significant contribution is her move to focus on the gravid body and its realities as well as significance(s), something both earlier histories of actresses and cultural histories of maternity have shied away from. The book's dialogues and echoes across and between different case studies – and with our own time – are significant for eighteenth-century, celebrity, and theatre studies."
— Elaine McGirr