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Table of contents :
Acknowledgements
Contents
List of Abbreviations
List of Figures
Chapter 1: Introduction: The Armed Woman Enters
‘An Unnatural and Monstrous Being’: British Responses to Arms-Bearing Women
‘To Shake or to Strengthen Existing Forms of Government’: British Theatre in the Age of Revolution
Methodology, Objectives and Content Overview
References
Newspapers and Periodicals
Primary and Secondary Works (Printed)
Chapter 2: ‘Unbrutifying Man’: Armed Women and Male Reform in Elizabeth Inchbald’s Dramas
‘It’s Not Myself I’ll Kill:'Tis You’: Women, Pistols, and the Penitent Rake in Inchbald’s Next Door Neighbours
‘I Never Liked Jesting’: Adapting and Staging the Sentimental Comedy
‘An Instrument of Death to Defend Herself’: Women’s Martial Rights and the Turn from Stage to Page in The Massacre
‘The Mere de Famille’: Motherhood, Female Militancy, and Pauline Léon’s Petition
‘Feminine Virtues Violated’: Women and Weaponry in The Massacre and Jean Hennuyer
‘The Subject Is So Horrid’: The Massacre as Closet Drama
‘Maid'Gainst Man Is Most Uncivil War’: The Demise of Inchbald’s Armed Women
References
Newspapers and Periodicals
Manuscript Collections
Online Sources
Primary and Secondary Sources (Printed)
Chapter 3: ‘The Ruthless Queen’: Lady Macbeth and Margaret of Anjou on the Post-Reign of Terror London Stage
‘Tis Gallia’s Hopeless Queen!’: Resurrecting the Dead in Kemble’s Macbeth
‘Living Portraits’: Political Allegory and Shakespearean Ghosts
Embodying Marie Antoinette: From Monster to Victim
‘Like an Apparition’: Lady Macbeth and the Ghost of Marie Antoinette
‘The Visionary Effects of a Guilty Conscience’ or a Call to ‘Mighty Vengeance’: Complicating Dramatic Closure
‘A Desp’rate Mother’: The Actress, The Amazon, and Francklin’s Earl of Warwick
Sentimentalising the ‘She-Wolf’: Margaret of Anjou on the Eighteenth-Century Stage
‘A Most Shocking Circumstance’: A Murder and a Play
‘To You the Little Innocents Appeal’: Unfeminine Ambition and Maternal Duty
‘Weeping Mothers Shall Applaud’: Merging the Actress and the Amazon
References
Newspapers and Periodicals
Online Collections
Primary and Secondary Sources (Printed)
Chapter 4: ‘The Merit of her Patriotism’: Charlotte Corday in British Drama, 1794–1804
‘Throbs of Life-Consuming Anguish’: Royalist, Romantic and Sentimental Heroines in Eyre’s Maid of Normandy
‘Committed to a Mad House!’ Pathological Sensibility and the Loving Female Warrior
‘Banish’d Reason’: A Virtuous yet Frenzied Heroine
‘The Heroism that Distinguishes it’: Negotiating Female Heroism in West’s Female Heroism
‘Filial Love/Flies on the Wings of Duty’: Republican Heroism, Christian Duty, and Feminine Feeling
‘My Heart is Bursting’: The Sentimentalised Roman Protagonist on the early Nineteenth-Century Stage
‘Be Mine in Politics’: Irish Republicanism, the Act of Union, and Charlotte Corday on the Dublin Stage
References
Newspapers and Periodicals
Manuscript Collections
Primary and Secondary Works (Printed)
Chapter 5: ‘I Drew my Knife and in his Bosom Stuck it’: Armed Heroines and the Anglo-German Drama
Characters of a ‘Mingled Nature’: Romantic Europhobia and the Hybridised Anglo-German Heroine
‘Their Heroes and Heroines are Bedlamites’: Glorifying Vice in Sheridan’s Pizarro
‘I am a Woman Desperate’: Anglicising the Sword-Bearing German Heroine
‘To Have Leapt upon him with a Tiger’s Plunge’: The Schiller-esque Heroine of Coleridge’s Remorse
‘Mrs Glover’s Powerful Assistance’: Complicating Remorse’s Reception
References
Newspapers and Periodicals
Online Collections
Manuscript Collections
Primary and Secondary Works (Printed)
Chapter 6: ‘Yet Are Spain’s Maids No Race of Amazons’: Spain’s Female Warriors in Anglo-European Drama
‘The Oppressed Brethren of thy Blood Have Need of Such a Leader’: Coleridge’s Dramatic Intervention in the Anglo-Hispanic Debate
‘Assassination Is So Abhorrent’: Guerrilla Warfare and Anglophilia in Remorse
‘My Eye-Balls Burnt’: Spanishness and Gender in Remorse
‘Blown to Pieces by the Delicate Hand’: Charles the Bold, the Peninsular War and Early British Melodrama
‘Armed by Wild Despair’: Allegorising, Feminising and Melodramatising the Maid of Saragossa
‘The Explosion Immediately Takes Place’: Women, Firearms and Trauma in British Melodrama of the 1810s
References
Newspapers and Periodicals
Online Collections
Manuscript Collections
Primary and Secondary Sources (Printed)
Chapter 7: Epilogue: The Armed Woman Exits
References
Manuscript Collections
Online Collections
Primary and Secondary Sources (Printed)
Index
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PALGRAVE STUDIES IN THE ENLIGHTENMENT, ROMANTICISM AND CULTURES OF PRINT

The Arms-Bearing Woman and British Theatre in the Age of Revolution, 1789–1815 Sarah Burdett

Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print Series Editors

Anne K. Mellor Department of English University of California Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA, USA Clifford Siskin Department of English New York University New York, NY, USA

Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print features work that does not fit comfortably within established boundaries – whether between periods or between disciplines. Uniquely, it combines efforts to engage the power and materiality of print with explorations of gender, race, and class. Mobilizing analytical, archival, and digital resources to explore the varied intersections of literature with the visual arts, medicine, law, and science, the series enables a large-scale rethinking of the origins of modernity. Editorial Board: Ros Ballaster, University of Oxford, UK John Bender, Stanford University, USA Alan Bewell, University of Toronto, Canada Peter de Bolla, University of Cambridge, UK Aaron Hanlon, Colby College, USA Devoney Looser, Arizona State University, USA Saree Makdisi, UCLA, USA Andrew Piper, McGill University, Canada Felicity A Nussbaum, UCLA, USA Janet Todd, University of Cambridge, UK.

Sarah Burdett

The Arms-Bearing Woman and British Theatre in the Age of Revolution, 1789–1815

Sarah Burdett English Language and Literature University College London London, UK

ISSN 2634-6516     ISSN 2634-6524 (electronic) Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print ISBN 978-3-031-15473-7    ISBN 978-3-031-15474-4 (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-15474-4 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors, and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Cover image: © The Trustees of the British Museum This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG. The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland

For my parents, Marion and Fred Burdett. Here is the book I have been promising you for years.

Acknowledgements

If you are reading this book, thank you. This study has been a long time in the making, threatened by a number of challenges, not least a global pandemic, so I am delighted finally to share it with you, and I hope that you enjoy it. I developed my love for Romanticism while completing an undergraduate module on 1790s literature taught by Cath Sharrock at the University of East Anglia. Cath’s eager enthusiasm not only for the content she was teaching, but, astoundingly, for my ideas regarding the content, nurtured in me an enthusiasm for Romantic literature and culture that has never since gone away. The seeds of this book were firmly sewn during my time spent at the University of York’s Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, where I was privileged to receive doctoral funding to pursue my research within an unsurpassably warm and stimulating research community, and to enjoy many hours reading and studying in the beautiful King’s Manor Library. I was honoured to work under the guidance of my PhD supervisors, Harriet Guest and Emma Major, who encouraged my turn to the exhilarating world of eighteenth-century theatre. Harriet’s and Emma’s amiability and relentless support were immeasurable to the development of my research, and to my belief in myself as a scholar. While at York, I profited moreover from the intellectual curiosity of faculty including Mary Fairclough, Catriona Kennedy, Jim Watt, and Richard Rowland, whose feedback on my work was consistently energising and impactful. My external thesis examiner, Helen Brooks, and my postdoctoral advisor, Kate Astbury, have contributed invaluably to the direction that my research has since taken: their generous contributions served to vii

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reinvigorate this project and my confidence that I could produce it at crucial points in its conception. I am overwhelmingly grateful for their ongoing support. I am thankful also to external colleagues including David Taylor, Susan Valladares, Michael Gamer, Gilli Bush-Bailey, and the late Fred Burwick, whose interest taken in my work has fuelled and enlivened the writing process in greater ways that I am sure they are aware. Colleagues at the University of Warwick, where I was based while finishing this book, have offered generous comment and provided excellent academic role models to whom I continue to aspire. I have benefited considerably from the expertise and encouragement of scholars in Warwick’s English and Theatre departments, and from the institution’s wealth of academic resources. I have been fortunate to receive external research grants and awards from the York Georgian Society, the British Society for Eighteenth-­ Century Studies, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Bodleian Library, to pursue archival research which has helped to inform this book. Archivists at the latter institutions were beyond helpful in pointing me towards unexpected sources that proved to be golden nuggets in the expansion of my research. I am thankful also to librarians and archivists at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, the Garrick Club, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the British Library, for their hospitality and assistance during my many visits to their collections. David Barrow and Kaylee Peelen have been tireless in their willingness to chat with me about all things ‘armed woman’; my time at York would not have been the same without their companionship. Friends who have no idea that this book exists have inadvertently driven its creation. I am perpetually inspired by the ‘female warriors’ with whom I train and compete as part of my running club in South West London, whose mental and physical strength, and continual defiance of expectations, I see mirrored in the amazons about whom I write. Faith in my ability to cross literal finish lines, instilled in me by my teammates, and by our coach—Kev Best—has unwittingly fuelled my belief that I could cross this finish line, too. Carla Grande epitomises the fearless ambition and gritty perseverance of the female warrior in her greatest form. I am lucky to have held a friendship with her for over fifteen years. This book could not have been written without my partner, Tom James Parmiter, who gave this project the kiss of life on more than one occasion. Thank you for being an affectionately persistent (and very patient!) soundboard, proof-reader, and bearer of strong coffee throughout the writing

 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 

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process. And most importantly, thank you for believing in me. I must mention also our beloved cat, Ted Coleridge, who, despite high-jacking my keyboard on a number of occasions, and adding a host of cryptic contributions to my drafts, has provided an excellent writing and editing companion. My profoundest source of motivation comes from my parents, to whom I dedicate this book. I grew up in a house filled with books, and with the emphatic assurance that I could achieve anything to which I put my mind. My parents have seen me through some of my greatest crises in confidence and have always managed to pick me back up (a process often involving my mum’s recourse to ‘Thumper the Rabbit’ and his troublesome carrot). My memories, as a teenager, discussing literature with my dad in a rapidly darkening living room, are among my fondest and most cherished. My dad always has a book in his hand. To add this one to his collection will be a joy beyond words.

Contents

1 Introduction: The Armed Woman Enters  1 2 ‘Unbrutifying  Man’: Armed Women and Male Reform in Elizabeth Inchbald’s Dramas 37 3 ‘The  Ruthless Queen’: Lady Macbeth and Margaret of Anjou on the Post-Reign of Terror London Stage 81 4 ‘The  Merit of her Patriotism’: Charlotte Corday in British Drama, 1794–1804133 5 ‘I  Drew my Knife and in his Bosom Stuck it’: Armed Heroines and the Anglo-German Drama189 6 ‘Yet  Are Spain’s Maids No Race of Amazons’: Spain’s Female Warriors in Anglo-European Drama229 7 Epilogue: The Armed Woman Exits273 Index281

xi

List of Abbreviations

CG CS DL

Covent Garden Theatre Crow Street Theatre Drury Lane Theatre

xiii

List of Figures

Fig. 1.1 Fig. 1.2 Fig. 3.1 Fig. 3.2 Fig. 3.3 Fig. 3.4

Fig. 4.1 Fig. 4.2 Fig. 4.3

Thomas Rowlandson, The Contrast: Or which is Best? (December 1792). © Trustees of the British Museum Isaac Cruikshank, A Republican Belle (1794). © Trustees of the British Museum George Henry Harlow, Mrs Siddons as Lady Macbeth, sleepwalking scene, Act V, from Macbeth by Shakespeare (1814). Courtesy of the Garrick Club, London Henry Pierce Bone, The Sleepwalking Scene in Macbeth (1797). © Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund Robert Sayer, Death of Marie Antoinette Queen of France and Navarre (1794). French Revolution Digital Archive. [accessed 11 March 2022] Mariano Bovi, engraving after Domenico Pellegrini, The Trial of Marie Antoinette Queen of France October 14, 1793/Proces de Marie Antoinette Reine de France October 14, 1793 (1796). French Revolution Digital Archive. [accessed 12 March 2022] James Gillray, The heroic Charlotte La Cordé, upon her trial (1793) © Trustees of the British Jacques-Louis David, The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of his Sons (1789). © Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Art Resource, NY James Henry Brocas, Loyalty Rewarded (1800). © National Library of Ireland

12 13 95 98 99

100 136 156 177

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CHAPTER 1

Introduction: The Armed Woman Enters

In the period of the French Revolution, the arms-bearing woman comes to stand in Britain as a representative of extreme political and social disruption. She embodies, in striking form, the revolutionary chaos witnessed across the channel, which threatens to infect British culture. This study traces shifting representations of the arms-bearing woman in London’s and Dublin’s patent theatres, examining the complex processes by which the threat that she personifies is handled and negotiated in relatively serious and/or sentimental plays produced and performed from the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 to the defeat of Napoleon in 1815. Magnifying heroines who appear on stage wielding pistols, brandishing daggers, thrusting swords and even firing explosives, I make a case for viewing the British theatre as an arena in which the significance of the armed woman is constantly re-modelled and re-appropriated to fulfil diverse ideological functions. Used to challenge as well as to enforce established notions of sex and gender difference, she is fashioned also as an allegorical tool, serving both to condemn and to champion political and social rebellion at home and abroad. On the one hand, my study develops and complicates current scholarship in the field by showing the armed woman’s evolution in British Romantic drama and theatre not to have followed a stable or linear pattern, but to have been continually and unpredictably redirected by an © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023 S. Burdett, The Arms-Bearing Woman and British Theatre in the Age of Revolution, 1789–1815, Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-15474-4_1

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expansive array of contextual factors. Literature scholars have sketched out basic representational trends and straightforward sequences of development to which the female warrior’s identity conforms across the eighteenth century. Customarily, the female warrior is confined to one of two categories—political and punished, or familial and rewarded—and transformations in her image are shown to occur chronologically, collectively and successively.1 By turning to theatrical representation, I am able to extend and nuance this more generalised scholarship by showing the armsbearing woman to embody a plurality of simultaneous meanings on account of the multiple and often discordant strands of influence that feed into her representation. Individually, my chapters serve to highlight the relevance of specific national, political, and even personal affairs in moulding and re-­moulding the armed woman’s theatrical identity, embellishing her with a plethora of concurrent connotations and showing her to undergo temporal developments far exceeding the complexity of those previously detected. Yet, not denying outright the formation of certain epochal trends, as a narrative in its entirety, my book foregrounds two key factors that precipitate the armed woman’s theatrical development across the period 1789 to 1815: these are, evolving configurations of national identity, and new dramatic forms imported from Europe. Spotlighting the labyrinthine and significant ways in which the arms-bearing woman enters into national discourses pertaining to Anglo-French, Anglo-Irish, Anglo-German, and AngloSpanish relations, I propose a degree of commensurability between the armed woman’s theatrical reputation and Britain’s perpetually changing relationship with home and European nations at different periods of the revolutionary and Napoleonic campaigns.2 Furthermore, by juxtaposing representations of armed women offered in sentimental dramas and tragedies of the early and mid 1790s, with representations projected in Sturm und Drang dramas imported from Germany and melodramas derived from France, I make a case for identifying nascent foreign genres as crucial in facilitating possibilities in the early 1800s for the emergence of a 1  For literary studies of eighteenth-century female warriors see Dianne Dugaw, Warrior Women and Popular Balladry, 1650-1850 (New York: CUP, 1989); Dror Wahrman, The Making of the Modern Self (New Haven: Yale UP, 2004), 3-156; and Catherine CraftFairchild, ‘Cross-Dressing and the Novel: Women Warriors and Domestic Femininity,’ Eighteenth-Century Fiction, vol. 10, issue 2 (January 1998), 171-202. 2  On the importance of these campaigns to the formation of British identity see Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation (New York: Yale UP, 1994), esp. 87-90.

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refashioned female warrior, whose degree of agency, destructiveness, and heroism surpasses that of her tragic and sentimental predecessors. It is not my contention that amazons of the type explored in this study constitute a breed of heroine wholly unanticipated in preceding eighteenth-century British drama. While often presenting textual continuities with the spirited weapon-wielding women observable in serious plays of the early and mid-century, the figures privileged in my study are fundamentally extricated from their dramatic forerunners in terms of their cultural valence.3 In tragedies immediately preceding my period of interest, including Richard Glover’s rendition of Medea (DL; 1767), George Colman’s re-working of Bonduca (Haymarket; 1778), Arthur Murphy’s original tragedy Zenobia (DL; 1768) and his more famous work, The Grecian Daughter (DL; 1772), we find animated arms-bearing women of classical, historical and/or foreign status configured as emblems of revenge, national zeal and unwavering patriotism within safe spatial, temporal and mythological distance from contemporary British reality.4 By the 1790s, however, scenes occurring within alarmingly close proximity to Britain problematise the remote and mythic status that the tragic amazon upholds in these earlier performances: no longer evoking straightforwardly far-flung, bygone or fantastical examples of national courage and resistance to patriarchal control, she is bedecked with dangerous allusions to the growing mass of real armed women pervading Europe, whose presence must be prohibited at all costs from invading British shores.5 It is this immediacy of allusive impact which renders the turn-of-the-century stage amazon such a welcome and fertile object of scholarly debate. Despite her ripeness for critical interrogation, however, the female warrior of earnest and sober depiction remains a predominantly peripheral figure in British Romantic theatre scholarship. Important studies of the cross-dressed female soldier that amused and titillated audiences in 3  For early eighteenth-century examples of warlike women presented in serious British drama see Brett Wilson’s A Race of Female Patriots: Women and Public Spirit on the British Stage, 1688-1745 (Plymouth: Bucknell UP, 2012). 4  See Richard Glover, Medea. A Tragedy (London: T.  Cadell, 1777); George Colman, Bonduca: A Tragedy (London: T.  Sherlock, 1788); Arthur Murphy, Zenobia: A Tragedy (London: T.  Cawthorn, 1768); and Arthur Murphy, The Grecian Daughter (London: T. Downes, 1772). 5  The result of this is not, as Wahrman has argued, that the amazon simply disappears from the stage. Rather, she becomes a complex site of newly contested meanings. For Wahrman’s argument see Modern Self, 3-156.

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comedies and farces of the period, embodied most famously by the staractress Dorothy Jordan, have blossomed in recent years, raising fundamental claims about the peculiar pleasures afforded by the spectacle of sexual transgression upon the Georgian stage.6 Yet enquiries which look to draw on such scholarship to inform investigations of the arms-bearing woman whose troubling significance is less allayed by whimsical characterisation or humour are comparatively sparse. Scholars including David Worrall, Frederick Burwick and Diego Saglia have acknowledged the fruitfulness of the period’s non-comedic stage amazon in bolstering examinations of British theatre’s interactions with national and social affairs.7 By scrutinising the female warrior as part of broader surveys of cultural and theatrical trends, however, the armed heroine’s status as a striking Romantic icon of sex, gender and nationhood is inevitably underplayed. Among pivotal studies of women warriors on the long eighteenth-century British stage to have emerged in recent years are Paula R. Backscheider’s Women in Wartime: Theatrical Representations in the Long Eighteenth Century (2021) and Wendy C.  Nielsen’s Women Warriors in Romantic Drama (2012). Tracing performances of women engaged with war from the Restoration to the 1800s, Backscheider showcases extensively the vital role played by the martial woman in boosting military recruitment, and makes the convincing case that ‘the wars of 1739-83’ led to an ‘explosion of plays’ relating ‘the most common experiences and behaviour of women 6  For excellent discussions of this figure see Felicity Nussbaum, Rival Queens: Actresses, Performance, and the Eighteenth-Century British Theatre (Oxford: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010) 189-225; Helen Brooks, Actresses, Gender, and the Eighteenth-Century Stage: Playing Women (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 73-90; Wendy C. Nielsen, Women Warriors in Romantic Drama (Plymouth: University of Delaware Press, 2013), 97-134; Paula R. Backscheider, Women in Wartime: Theatrical Representations in the Long Eighteenth Century (Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 2021), 58-251; Kristina Straub, Sexual Suspects: Eighteenth-Century Players and Sexual Ideology (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1992), 127-150; Jean Marsden, ‘Modesty Unshackled: Dorothy Jordan and the Dangers of Cross-Dressing’, Studies in Eighteenth-­Century Culture, vol.  22 (January 1993), 21-35; Pat Rogers, ‘The Breeches Part’, in Sexuality in Eighteenth-Century Britain, ed. Paul-Gabriel Boucé (Manchester: Manchester UP, 1982), 244-258; and Beth H. Friedman-Romell, ‘Breaking the Code: Toward a Reception Theory of Theatrical Cross-Dressing in Eighteenth-Century London’, Eighteenth-Century Representations, vol. 47, no. 4 (December 1995), 459-479. 7  See David Worrall, Celebrity, Performance, Reception: British Georgian Theatre as Social Assemblage (Cambridge: CUP, 2013), 119-156; Frederick Burwick, Playing to the Crowd: London Popular Theatre, 1780-1830 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) 141-149; and Diego Saglia, ‘Spanish Tragedies: British Romantic Tragedy and Theatrical Politics of Spain, 1808-1823’, European Romantic Review, vol. 19, no. 1 (2008), 19-32.

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in intimate relationships with military men’.8 Analysing a very different set of theatrical case studies, and initiating my study at the period where Backscheider’s concludes, The Arms-Bearing Woman shifts focalisation from the quotidian struggles of the eighteenth-century military wife, to the feisty and extraordinary exploits of the armed female combatant found in British Romantic drama.9 This figure, I argue, continues to serve as a propagandist vehicle, while becoming noteworthy less so for her communication of woman’s prevailing wartime experience, than for her performance of astounding military feats, and her embodiment of complex allegorical and emblematic meanings. Nielsen’s Women Warriors in Romantic Drama is to date the only book-length study in English to deal exclusively with women warriors presented on the stage across my chosen theatrical period. Consonant with the aims of my investigation, Nielsen’s study offers enlightening assessments of the correlation between theatrical female warriors and the lively cultural and social debates characterising the revolutionary years. Rather than examining the ways in which attitudes to female warriors alter and transform in response to these debates, however, Nielsen offers a stimulatingly comparative study of martial heroines depicted in Britain, Germany and France. Given the wide-ranging temporal and geographical perspectives adopted in these earlier studies, substantial scope remains for a diachronic assessment that fully unpacks the far-reaching and eclectic implications attached to arms-bearing women on the British Romantic stage. It is this gap that my book looks to fill. The Arms-Bearing Woman re-evaluates a number of conclusions to which existing scholarship points. While muddying the bipartite characterisation of female warriors into the polarised categories of public, political and condemned, and sentimental, familial and excused, my book shows hypotheses around gendered authorship also to invite greater nuance. One of the general trends identified in Nielsen’s study is ‘a gendered difference between male and female writers’ approaches to women warriors’.10 Nielsen argues that in dramas written by men ‘the woman warrior commits violence out of an excess of feeling, such as passion, rage or vengefulness’ and thereby supports ‘stereotypes of woman’s behaviour as  Backscheider, Women in Wartime, 4, 20.  Backscheider interacts with the 1790s and early 1800s in her book’s final chapter. See 252-315. 10  Nielsen, Women Warriors, xxix. 8 9

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irrational, deceptive, and manipulative’. Meanwhile, ‘many female writers construct female figures who fight to protect others and who sacrifice their lives in order to further political ideals’, thus challenging ‘conventional notions of femininity as receptive and passive’.11 The assumption that literary portrayals of aggressive women fall into gendered-author categories in this period has been cautioned against by Adriana Craciun. Pointing to the animosity shown towards martialised women in the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft, Craciun demonstrates the inadequacy of dividing the figure’s representations into authorial categories either of gender or political creed:12 though a woman, and an early supporter of the revolution, Wollstonecraft is as adamant as Edmund Burke, her political adversary, that women ought not to ‘turn their distaff into a musket’.13 In the context of theatrical performance, the topic of gendered authorship is complicated further. The parameters of my exploration deny the type of gendered comparison foregrounded by Nielsen, given the sparsity of available female-authored case studies that fit my contextual brief.14 In comedies of the period staged in London’s patent playhouses, female characters who hunt and don military garb can be detected in plays including Charlotte Smith’s What is She? (CG; 1799) and Mary Robinson’s Nobody (DL; 1794); which, in accordance with male-authored comedies such as Frederick Reynolds’ The Rage (CG; 1795), use female characters engaged in martial pastimes to mock fashionable aristocratic behaviours.15 In narratives of a more serious or pathetic bent, however, women warriors feature in female-authored plays intended for performance far more sparingly than they do in female-authored novels or dramas written for the

 Ibid., xxxi, xxvii.   See Adriana Craciun, Fatal Women of Romanticism (Cambridge: CUP, 2003), 49-50, 68-70. 13  Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (London: J. Johnson, 1792), 28. My book further challenges the gendered-author divide, showing the critically neglected playwright Matthew West, an avid opponent of French radicalism, to offer a dramatic depiction of French murderess Charlotte Corday that shares an affinity with the representational tendencies ascribed by Nielsen to dramas scripted by women. 14  Nielsen’s study amplifies its representation of female playwrights via its emphasis on closet drama and comedy. 15  On the bon ton stereotypes mocked in these plays see Hannah Grieg, The Beau Monde: Fashionable Society in Georgian London (Oxford: OUP, 2013). 11 12

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closet.16 This paucity of female-authored performances highlights Elizabeth Inchbald as a somewhat remarkable case: as we shall see, her sentimental drama Next Door Neighbours (Haymarket; 1791) features a heroine who boldly confronts her male assaulter with a loaded pistol. Yet, even this example does not carry full female autonomy, as Inchbald’s pistol-bearing heroine is derived from Louis Sébastien Mercier’s L’indigent (1772) and is thus not an original female-authored creation.17 Resultantly, of all the women warriors dealt with in this study, none have been constructed independently by female playwrights. On the one hand, this male-dominated corpus of plays carries ideological weight in and of itself. Scholarly enquiries into Romantic writings on war have shown the female novelist or poet who engages with armed and military conflicts to transgress the gendered division of spheres by imaginatively abandoning the domestic space for the male domain of the battlefield.18 For the female dramatist writing of war, there is even more at stake. Enacting a dual form of transgression, she ventures into the male sphere not only imaginatively, via her subject matter, but literally and physically too, via the communication of her material in the public space of the theatre. And if her agents of war are female, then she can be considered culpable of encouraging, via her military heroines, the very transgression that she herself enacts.19 My principal focus on male-authored plays implicitly signals these challenges. And yet, my selection of source texts by no means negates an interaction with the role of female agency in shaping dramatic meaning. While scarcely created by women, the female warrior’s unanimous embodiment by women, in the form of the actress, dictates a degree 16  For female-authored closet dramas depicting female warriors see in particular Mary Deverell’s Mary, Queen of Scots; An Historical Tragedy (1792) and Anne Plumptre’s adaptation of Kotzebue’s Pizarro (1799). On arms-bearing women featured in female-authored British novels see Craciun, Fatal Women, esp. 21-40, 67-95, 130-175, 176-214; and Craciun, ‘The New Cordays: Helen Craik and British Representations of Charlotte Corday’, in Rebellious Hearts: British Women Writers and the French Revolution, eds. Adriana Craciun and Kari E. Lokke (New York: State University of New York Press, 2001), 193-232. 17  The topic of female authorship and adaptation is explored further in Chap. 2. 18  See esp. Diego Saglia, ‘“O My Mother Spain!”: The Peninsular War, Family Matters, and the Practice of Romantic Nation-Writing’, ELH, vol. 65, no. 2 (Summer 1998), 363-393; and Simon Bainbridge, British Poetry and the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars: Visions of Conflict (Oxford: OUP, 2003), 190-224. 19  While the connection formed here is between the female playwright and the female warrior, parallels can be detected additionally between the female warrior and the actress. I explore this idea at length in Chap. 3.

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of unavoidable female governance over the figure’s theatrical identity. Diverging from the novel, poem or closet drama in its collaborative nature, theatrical performance provides a unique genre within which the meaning attributed to the armed heroine transcends authorial intention. As such, straightforward conclusions around the drama’s ideological inferences and the sex of the playwright fall short of acknowledging the intricate tugs of war determining the extent of male and female authority in shaping attitudes to gender projected on the stage.20 Aiding critical advancements in British Romantic theatre scholarship more broadly, the perspective adopted in my book supports the invalidation of long-standing scholarly myths which have devalued Romantic drama. As Jeffrey N. Cox and Michael Gamer have stressed, ‘modern critics have seen the Romantic period as a time when literature and the stage experienced a near-complete divorce from one another’. Not only have authors of literature designed for the closet been culturally and literarily elevated above those writing for the theatre, but observations of quintessentially Romantic themes have been confined predominantly and historically to studies of printed sources.21 Via both the selection of theatrical entertainments discussed throughout this study, and the methodological approaches underpinning such discussions, I seek actively to debunk this dichotomy. On the one hand, my book bridges the proposed gap between the canonised elite and obscure producers of theatre by drawing attention to thematic and stylistic continuities in plays composed by members of the Romantic literati, such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and supposedly lowbrow entertainments created by figures including Joseph George Holman and Samuel Arnold. At the same time, my book foregrounds the reverberations on stage of Romantic motifs which have been critically confined to the period’s literature. Key among these is the Romantic discourse of sensibility and feeling. Chris Jones is principal among scholars to have charted the ways in which opinions ‘on the conduct of private affections’ and ‘even the use of reason’, already enveloped in gendered implications, 20  This idea is emphasised in Jane Moody’s essay ‘Illusions of Authorship’, in Women and Playwriting in Nineteenth-Century Britain, eds. Tracy C.  Davis and Ellen Donkin (Cambridge: CUP, 1999), 99-124; and, with reference to an earlier dramatic context, in Backscheider’s Women in Wartime, 152-197. 21  Jeffrey N.  Cox and Michael Gamer, ‘Introduction’, in The Broadview Anthology of Romantic Drama, eds. Jeffrey N.  Cox and Michael Gamer (Canada: Broadview Press, 2003), ix.

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are reconfigured in Romantic literature as ‘political statements, aligned with conservative or radical ideologies’.22 My book shows these incipient modulations of feeling and reason to resound in the theatre, and to play a paramount role in tincturing the armed woman’s gendered and political identities.23 Tracing the presence on stage of ideas and images repeatedly identified in the period’s poetry and novels, my book contributes emphatically to the ongoing case being made for the theatre as an inestimable source for students and researchers of Romanticism, capable of deepening and complicating scholarly understandings of the Romantic tapestry, traditionally gauged from print alone.24

‘An Unnatural and Monstrous Being’: British Responses to Arms-Bearing Women In 1795, the author of a letter printed in The Gentleman’s Magazine expressed his concern that a ‘military furor’, like that witnessed in ‘a neighbouring nation’, might seize on ‘young and beautiful’ British women 22  Chris Jones, Radical Sensibility: Literature and Ideas in the 1790s (London: Routledge, 1993), 13.  Also on sensibility and Romantic literature see R. F. Brissenden, Virtue in Distress: Studies in the Novel of Sentiment from Richardson to Sade (London: MacMillan, 1974); Janet Todd, Sensibility: An Introduction (London: Methuen, 1986); G. J. Barker-Benfield, The Culture of Sensibility: Sex and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992); Claudia Johnson, Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender, and Sentimentality in the 1790s: Wollstonecraft, Radcliffe, Burney, Austen (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995); Adela Pinch, Strange Fits of Passion: Epistemologies of Emotion, Hume to Austen (California: Stanford UP, 1996); Jerome McGann, The Poetics of Sensibility: A Revolution in Poetic Style (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996); Lynn Hunt and Margaret Jacob, ‘The Affective Revolution in 1790s Britain’, Eighteenth-­Century Studies, vol. 34, no. 4 (Summer, 2001), 491-521; Brycchan Carey, British Abolitionism and the Rhetoric of Sensibility: Writing, Sentiment and Slavery, 1760-1807 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005); Christopher Nagle, Sexuality and the Culture of Sensibility in the British Romantic Era (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007); Harriet Guest, Unbounded Attachment: Sentiment and Politics in the Age of the French Revolution (Oxford: OUP, 2013); and Joel Faflak and Richard C. Sha (eds.), Romanticism and the Emotions (Cambridge: CUP, 2014). 23  Chapter 2 discusses dramatic challenges to conduct literature positioning feminine sensibility as an antidote to revolutionary violence; Chapter 3 draws stark connections between poetic and theatrical representations of monarchical suffering; and Chap. 4 interrogates shifting attitudes to private sentiments and universal benevolence in the aftermath of the Terror. 24  My book constitutes one in a long line of studies to redress the historical devaluation of British Romantic theatre by showcasing its value to studies of Romantic culture. Scholarship to which my work is particularly indebted is flagged later in this introduction.

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and encourage them to relinquish ‘their natural timidity and amiable softness, and acquire many masculine’ and ‘indelicate notions’.25 Insisting that this ‘tendency to masculine manners’, which he describes as ‘highly disgusting’, must be prevented in Britain, the author warns that if ‘the gentle bosoms of the fair sex’ were removed from ‘the quiet scenes of domestic life to riot in the scenes of blood’ the outcome ‘would neither be pleasant nor friendly to virtue’ and would be of disastrous ‘consequence to the state’.26 The letter typifies loyalist anxieties about arms-bearing women that crucially inform the female warrior’s status and reputation in late eighteenth-century Britain. First, it demonstrates the panic among conservatives that British women might adopt the ‘indecent and disgusting’ character of the warlike women inhabiting a ‘neighbouring nation’.27 Second, it shows this panic to result largely from the influence that martial women were seen to exert over the state. The ‘neighbouring nation’ to which the letter refers is of course revolutionary France. The French Revolution saw women partake in martial forms of political violence on a remarkably large scale. While a number of women had been present at the storming of the Bastille, and more still had paraded through the streets in celebration of its fall, women’s military involvement in the revolution began en masse on 6 October 1789. As has been well documented, the date saw a host of Parisian market women march to Versailles before forcing the Royal family out of the palace and back to the capital, in protest over the rising price of bread.28 British journalists were shocked to discover that the women involved in the march had been armed; The Times remarked with horror that a vast number of  ‘Letter: Strictures on Natural Vices, Follies, and Inadvertencies’, in The Gentleman’s Magazine 65 (January 1795), 103, 104 (referred to hereafter as ‘Letter’). 26  ‘Letter’, 103, 104. 27  Ibid., 103. 28  See Olwen H.  Hufton, Women and the Limits of Citizenship in the French Revolution (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992), 8-50; Lucy Moore, Liberty: The Lives and Times of Six Women in Revolutionary France (London: Harper Perennial, 2007), 32-42, 51-52; Colley, Britons, 265-267; Harriet B. Applewhite and Darline G. Levy, ‘Women and militant citizenship in revolutionary Paris’, in Rebel Daughters: Women and the French Revolution, eds. Sara E. Melzer and Leslie W. Rabine (Oxford: OUP, 1992), 83-85; James F.  McMillan, France and Women, 1789-1914: Gender, Society and Politics (London: Routledge, 2000), 21-22; and Gay L.  Gullickson, Unruly Women of Paris: Images of the Commune (London: Cornell UP, 1996), 66-73. 25

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France’s female inhabitants had ‘taken up arms, some with bludgeons, some with firelocks’ and a journalist for Whitehall Evening Post expressed trepidation at the ‘French ladies’ who proved themselves to ‘have the courage even to take up arms’.29 This display of female aggression and martial agency set the tone for things to come. In the spring and summer of 1792 French women took part in armed parades provoked by the massacre at the Champ de Mars; in August that same year they were actively involved in the brutal killing of the Swiss guard during the attack on the Tuileries; on 13 July 1793 the republican woman Charlotte Corday stabbed and murdered the tyrannical Jacobin leader Jean-Paul Marat; and in May 1795 armed female rioters burst into the meeting place of the National Convention following continued inflation and food shortages.30 As the escalation of women’s violence suggests, by the time that the letter was printed in The Gentleman’s Magazine, France’s female warriors had firmly established themselves as prominent agents in their country’s revolution. French women’s mass participation in revolutionary violence earned them a reputation in Britain as monstrous, savage, and entirely unfeminine. The stereotype of the armed and grotesque French woman is epitomised in satirical images including Thomas Rowlandson’s The Contrast (1792) [Fig. 1.1] and Isaac Cruikshank’s A Republican Belle (1794) [Fig. 1.2]. In Rowlandson’s widely distributed etching, French Liberty is represented as a bare-breasted virago with Medusa like-snakes protruding from her head. Wielding a dagger in one hand and a trident in the other, she charges frantically towards her next victim, while callously stamping on the decapitated body of a man she has already murdered. Indicative of the famine that has driven her mad, her body appears manly yet undernourished, and is starkly contrasted with the rotund and womanly physique of Britannia, who appears opposite her looking matronly and composed.31  Times, 10 October 1789; Whitehall Evening Post, 15-17 October 1789.  On these events see Dominique Godineau, The Women of Paris and their French Revolution, trans. Katherine Streip (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 107-119; Lynn Hunt, The Family Romance of the French Revolution (California: Routledge, 1992), 81-82; and Madelyn Gutwirth, The Twilight of the Goddesses: Women and Representation in the French Revolutionary Era (New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1992), 288. 31  On cartoons juxtaposing Britain and revolutionary France see Diana Donald, The Age of Caricature: Satirical Prints in the Reign of George III (New Haven: Yale UP, 1996), 151-155. 29 30

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Fig. 1.1  Thomas Rowlandson, The Contrast: Or which is Best? (December 1792). © Trustees of the British Museum

Cruikshank’s Republican Belle exhibits an equally bestialised French woman, who smiles maniacally as she strolls nonchalantly past human bones, decapitated heads, and a man hanging from a noose. Her unfeminine physique is again both muscular and emaciated, and her clawed feet and fang-like teeth render her demonic. She demonstrates her relentless appetite for violence and bloodshed by casually firing a pistol at her pleading male victim, while three large daggers emerge from her hair, and a fourth is tucked under her arm.32 As the nightmarish figures indicate, France’s martial women, used to personify the unnaturalness of the 32   On British satirical images of French revolutionary women see Jane Kromm, ‘Representations of Revolutionary Women in Political Caricature’, in The French Revolution Debate in English Literature and Culture, ed. Lisa Plummer Crafton (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1997), 126-131; and John Richard Moores, Representations of France and the French in English Satirical Prints, 1740-1832 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 177-192.

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Fig. 1.2  Isaac Cruikshank, A Republican Belle (1794). © Trustees of the British Museum

country’s revolution, were popularly discerned and portrayed in Britain as hideously ferocious beings, who were neither properly female, nor properly human: rather, as Edmund Burke famously declared in his Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), they embodied ‘all the unutterable

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abominations of the furies of hell, in the abused shape of the vilest of women’.33 British women’s emulation of their desperately aggressive and unnaturally masculine French counterparts was viewed by British loyalists as a very real and very dangerous possibility. Burke warned in his Reflections that as ‘France has always more or less influenced manners in England’, the same ‘revolution in sentiments, manners, and moral opinions’ witnessed across the Channel could soon extend to Britain.34 The Anglican cleric Thomas Gisborne later addressed widespread fears regarding women’s particular tendency to copy French trends when cautioning in An Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex (1797) that the pattern ‘exhibited at Paris has long been imitated in London’, especially by the country’s ‘female acquaintance’, who seem to relish the ‘opportunity of treading’ in ‘the same steps’ as their European neighbours.35 The thought of native women mimicking France’s female warriors struck horror in British loyalists, as the warlike figure threatened both the sexual and the political order. On the one hand, armed female activists challenged the assumption that women were naturally domestic, nurturing, and apolitical, and thereby called into question the gendered division of labour and the gendered division of spheres. Moreover, women’s martial activity could be perceived not only as symptomatic, but as productive of the anarchy and barbarism characterising revolutionary France. The letter printed in The Gentleman’s Magazine substantiates the need for women’s military activity to be prohibited in Britain by postulating that ‘women, though they take no active share in the government of nations, have yet a mighty influence in every civilised state’.36 The author’s asserted link between women and civilisation interacts with Enlightenment theories of progress which show femininity to exert a powerful influence 33  Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (London: J.  Dodsley, 1790), 106. On Burke’s discussion of the armed women who marched to Versailles see Tom Furniss, Edmund Burke’s Aesthetic Ideology: Language, Gender, and Political Economy in Revolution (Cambridge: CUP, 1993), 164-196; Tim Fulford, Romanticism and Masculinity: Gender, Politics and Poetics in the Writings of Burke, Coleridge, Cobbett, Wordsworth, De Quincey and Hazlitt (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999), 31-36; and Linda Zerilli, Signifying Woman: Culture and Chaos in Rousseau, Burke, and Mill (London: Cornell UP, 1994), 60-89. 34  Burke, Reflections, 118, 119. 35  Thomas Gisborne,  An Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex (London: T. Cadell jun. and W. Davies, 1797), 324. 36  ‘Letter’, 103.

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over male manners and morals. During the revolutionary years, social commentators drew on stadial models in order to blame the outbreak of anarchy in France on the behaviour of the country’s women.37 As Linda Colley explains, the revolution was commonly presented in Britain as ‘a grim demonstration of the dangers that ensued when women were allowed to stray outside of their proper sphere’.38 French women were shown to have abandoned their femininity by intervening in the masculine realms of public and military affairs, and their example was consequently used as evidence in Britain that women must ‘look, feel and behave in ways that were unambiguously womanly’ if social equanimity was to be maintained.39 It is precisely this point that is emphasised in The Gentleman’s Magazine, in which an explicit connection is formed between France’s female warriors and ‘the immoralities of modern Frenchmen’.40 In accordance with Enlightenment theories of gender, the correspondent presents women’s ‘natural goodness of heart’ as essential to keeping the country’s men in check. He announces, Softness, delicacy […] and, I may add, timidity […] are the most natural characteristicks of women. Such endearing qualities touch the heart of the hero, awe the profligate, and extort respect from the most abandoned; while she in whom they are wanting creates only disgust; she appears to be an unnatural and monstrous being, and, instead of love and the softer passions, she excites only contempt.

Women’s ‘endearing qualities’ are shown to foster in men the ‘love and softer passions’ that the ‘unnatural and monstrous’ character of the masculine woman is incapable of inspiring. The author deduces from this that as long as women retain their ‘natural sensibility’ then the ‘dignity, security and happiness’ of the nation will be preserved. But, if instead of ‘the bashful air for which they are admired, women were to learn to appear in all the fierceness of a hero’, British men will grow ‘savage and unprincipled’. They will develop ‘that impatience of controul’ which too often ‘grows into turbulence and sedition’, and the nation’s ‘political excellence’ 37  On women’s role in prompting the revolution see Colley, Britons, 263-270; Katherine Binhammer, ‘The Sex Panic of the 1790s’, Journal of the History of Sexuality, vol. 6, no. 3 (January 1996), 409-434; and Johnson, Equivocal Beings, 1-19. 38  Colley, Britons, 265. 39  Ibid., 267. 40  ‘Letter’, 103.

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and ‘private virtue’ will be supplanted by ‘vices, follies [and] inadvertencies’.41 The letter articulates a stark and serious warning: either women agree to ‘leave military duties’ to ‘their fathers, their brothers, and their countrymen’, or not only will established gender distinctions be overturned, but Britain will become home to the same ‘alarming depravity’ and ‘horrid scenes’ that characterise revolutionary France.42

‘To Shake or to Strengthen Existing Forms of Government’: British Theatre in the Age of Revolution In her reflections on the 1794-5 London theatrical season, conveyed in her memoirs of the singer Anna Maria Crouch, novelist and poet Mary Julia Young aptly captures the climate of political vigilance and cultural sensitivity into which new plays were being introduced. Young recalls how English audiences ‘received with rapturous applause’ productions communicating overtly loyalist sentiments, while the tendency to take ‘alarm at every word which they imagined’ to ‘encourage the spirit of democracy’ meant plays containing so much as ‘an expression which at another period would have pleased, incurred their disapprobation’.43 Young’s observation signals the readiness of theatregoers to interpret events witnessed on stage through the lens of revolutionary activity: while anti-Gallic overtones prompted lively claps and cheers, scenes in which audiences could detect even the mildest hint of anti-establishment ideology were met with vocalised distaste.44 On the one hand, Young’s account reflects the unique pressures faced by the dramatic writer whose reputation and success was held largely in the hands of an unpredictable and vociferous crowd. As the playwright and theatre manager George Colman would declare in his Random Records (1830), Any Dramatist […] when he first brings his play into action, exposes himself more to the attacks of malice and wanton hostility than any other description of writer. – Authors for the closet can never be absolutely discredited  Ibid., 103, 104, 102, 103.  Ibid., 104, 102. 43  Mary Julia Young, Memoirs of Mrs Crouch, 2 vols. (London: James Asperne, 1806), I:193. 44  Young, Memoirs, I:213. 41 42

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through such a condemnation as causes immediate and decisive failure; but the Dramatist draws a Bill upon Fame, at sight; it is acknowledged or protested at the moment it is presented.45

Colman makes the point that the playwright, whose work is judged impulsively by an outspoken audience, lacks the relative room for error that the writer for the closet enjoys. For a drama to be booed and hissed by theatregoers was not only to expose the playwright to public and instant shame, but it was to dictate the play’s lifespan, as dramas could be removed immediately from the theatrical repertoire upon audiences’ dissatisfaction. It was not only theatre audiences from whom dramatists had to shield themselves against the ‘attacks of malice and wanton hostility’ to which Colman alludes. As demonstrated in reviews found in loyalist newspapers, the press was equally quick to pounce upon dramas offering glimpses of the ‘spirit of democracy’ described in Young’s reflections. Elizabeth Inchbald discovered this first-hand in January 1793, when her comedy Every One Has His Fault (CG; 1793) was reprimanded in The True Briton on the grounds that ‘in several sentences the democrat displays a cloven foot’.46 Adamantly protesting the charge, Inchbald insisted that she never intended ‘to have written anything of the nature’ of which she was accused.47 Five years later, the gothic playwright Matthew G. Lewis was also forced to defend himself against the ‘many erroneous assertions’ levelled against his dramatic romance The Castle Spectre (DL; 1797) after the play was berated in the press for conveying ‘sentiments [which] were violently democratic’.48 As the examples infer, the period’s intensity of 45  George Colman, Random Records, 2 vols (London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1830), II:254-255. 46  The True Briton, 30 January 1793. On this play and its reception see Katherine S. Green, ‘Mr Harmony and the Events of January 1793: Elizabeth Inchbald’s Every One Has His Fault’, Theatre Journal, vol. 56 (March 2004), 47-62; Amy Garnai, ‘Radicalism, Caution, and Censorship in Elizabeth Inchbald’s Every One Has His Fault’, Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, vol. 47, no. 3, ‘Restoration and Eighteenth Century’ (Summer, 2007), 703-722; and Garnai, Revolutionary Imaginings in the 1790s: Charlotte Smith, Mary Robinson, Elizabeth Inchbald (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 147-177. 47  Letter from Elizabeth  Inchbald to William Woodfall, 1 February 1793, cited in Annabel Jenkins, I’ll Tell You What: The Life of Elizabeth Inchbald (Lexington: UP of Kentucky, 2003), 328. 48  Matthew G.  Lewis, ‘To the Reader’, in The Castle Spectre: A Drama in Five Acts (London: J. Bell, 1798), 100. On the controversies detected in this play see Giovani Silvani, ‘Matthew G. Lewis’ Theatre: Fear on Stage’, in The Romantic Stage: A Many-Sided Mirror, eds. Lilla Maria Crisafullli and Fabio Liberto (New York: Rodopi, 2014), 185-198; and D.  L. MacDonald, ‘Revolution and Counter-Revolution in the Plays of M.  G. Lewis’, Lumen, vol. 14 (1995), 139–147. For more on this play see Chap. 5 of this study.

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political surveillance meant public judgements of plays were capable of sullying not only the dramatists’ professional reputation, but personal reputation too, aligning authors with political factions to which they did not necessarily belong. Hence, Inchbald would declare in 1794 that she had come to write her dramas with ‘Newgate before [her] eyes’.49 Before the playwright need even consider the potential wrath of the audience or the press, however, the dramatic materials submitted for performance had to be approved for exhibition. Dramas written for London’s patent theatres underwent a stringent screening process prior to securing their place in the theatrical repertoire: before being judged by the audience, they were rigorously scrutinised not only by relevant theatre managers, but also by John Larpent, the Chief Examiner of Plays.50 While revolutionary spectacle flourished for a short time in London’s minor playhouses, Larpent soon began suppressing from the patent stage not only direct dramatisations of revolutionary events, but even venerable plays such as Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, which acquired new political pertinence on account of its depiction of regicide.51 As British antipathy to the French Revolution began to intensify following the outbreak of the Terror, so too did Larpent’s expurgation of dramatic material that seemed to engage even subtly with democratic principles.52 At a time when the armed woman was rife with allusions to revolutionary chaos, her theatrical portrayal had therefore to be carefully negotiated: dramatists were faced 49  Letter from Elizabeth Inchbald to William Godwin, 1794, cited in C.  Kegan Paul, William Godwin: His friends and Contemporaries, 2 vols (London: Henry S.  King & co., 1876), I:141. 50  On theatre censorship during this period see esp. L.W. Conolly, The Censorship of English Drama, 1737-1824 (San Marino: Huntington Library Press, 1976); and David Worrall, Theatric Revolution: Drama, Censorship, and Romantic Period Subcultures, 1773-1832 (Oxford: OUP, 2006), 33-68. 51  On early exhibitions in London theatres of revolutionary spectacle see George Taylor, The French Revolution and the London Stage (Cambridge: CUP, 2000), 42-67. On the suppression of Julius Caesar see Terence Allan Hoagwood, ‘Romantic Drama and Historical Hermeneutics’, in British Romantic Drama: Historical and Critical Essays, eds. Terrence Allan Hoagwood and Daniel Watkins (London: Associated UPs, 1998), 24-25. 52  On changing British attitudes to the French Revolution see Mark Philp, Reforming Ideas in Britain: Politics and Language in the Shadow of the French Revolution (Cambridge: CUP, 2014), 11-39; Chris Evans, Debating the Revolution: Britain in the 1790s (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 16-21; and Steven Blakemore, Crisis in Representation: Thomas Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft, Helen Maria Williams and the Rewriting of the French Revolution (London: Associated UPs, 1997), 89-92. On enhanced theatre censorship in London in line with these shifts see Taylor, The French Revolution, 66.

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with the challenge of casting the female warrior in a mould which would satisfy volatile and politically sensitive theatregoers and reviewers, while also passing unscathed through the Examiner’s strict inspection. The need for rigid censorship to be exercised over British drama related in large part to the perceived correlation between theatrical entertainments and the public’s conduct outside the theatre. Social commentators of the 1790s identified close ties between events acted on the stage and the public’s acceptance of, and compliance with, established social mores. In his Enquiry, Gisborne drew on the ‘immorality and profaneness’ that ‘deluged the theatre’ around the time of the English civil wars to demonstrate the theatre’s potential ‘to shake or to strengthen existing forms of government’.53 Expressing similar sentiments in Reflections, Burke accused a tragedy staged in Paris between 1789 and 1790 of being partially responsible for inciting the French Revolution. The tragedy criticised is MarieJoseph Chénier’s Charles IX, or the School for Kings (1788) (Charles IX, ou, L’école des rois), a dramatisation of the St Bartholomew massacre.54 Commenting on the impropriety of allowing the ‘massacre to be acted on the stage for the diversion of the descendants of those who committed it’, Burke asks whether it is any wonder that anarchy has resulted in a nation exposed to spectacle that excites ‘savage dispositions’ in its audience, serving to ‘stimulate their cannibal appetites’, and ‘to quicken them to an alertness in new murders and massacres’.55 As Gisborne and Burke surmise, actions witnessed on stage were liable to fuel behaviours practised on the streets.56 As such, it was paramount that the content of theatrical entertainments was carefully policed. Even play texts that invited overtly loyalist meanings were not immune to accusations of dismantling social structures. Adding a layer of complexity to Young’s earlier observation, writer and former dramatist Hannah More cautioned against the possibility of audiences responding ebulliently to radically inflected dialogues communicated in dramas berating revolutionary ideas. Having renounced her early zest for the theatre following her increasing affiliation with the Clapham Sect (whose members included Gisborne), More warned in the preface to a volume of her plays published  Gisborne, Enquiry, 163.  On this play and its perceived dangers see Susan Maslan, Revolutionary Acts: Theater, Democracy, and the French Revolution (Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 2005), 37-56. 55  Burke, Reflections, 210. 56  A similar accusation is offered in Henry Mackenzie’s commentary on Friedrich Schiller’s The Robbers (1781). See Chap. 5. 53 54

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in 1801 that as ‘the danger does not lie merely’ in hearing the ‘sentiments delivered from the stage’, but ‘in seeing how favourably they are received by the audience’, a play in which scenes of vice are ‘neither professedly inculcated nor vindicated’ can still produce ‘a dreadful effect […] little expected or intended by its author’, if such scenes are met with ‘bursts of applause’.57 As More acknowledges, the crowd’s response could surpass the power of the narrative itself in determining a drama’s ideological impact, rendering a blatantly loyalist play as potentially dangerous in effect as an anti-loyalist polemic.58 Practical evidence supporting this notion was allegedly provided on 29 October 1795 by the famous attack on the King’s coach (vastly overblown in journalistic accounts) that coincided with a run of performances at Drury Lane of Thomas Otway’s tragedy Venice Preserved (1682).59 Despite the play’s chastisement of its political conspirators, the decision among radical members of the audience raucously to applaud Jaffeir’s expressions of insurrectionary intent caused the newspaper Tomahawk, or Censor General to resolve that ‘the abandoned opposition’ have impelled the public ‘to follow the advice of Jaffeir’, as ‘acted at Drury Lane’, and to make ‘“these wide streets run [with] blood!”’60 The idea that the exuberant response to Jaffier, provided by a small number of revolutionary sympathisers, managed to encourage mass participation in ‘the business of the 29th of October’, chimes with the postulation enforced right across the eighteenth century that singular opinions communicated in the auditorium could quicky become pervasive.61 Dramatist Colley Cibber proposed 57  Hannah More, ‘Preface to the Tragedies’, in The Works of Hannah More, in eight volumes: including several pieces never before published, 8 vols (London: T.  Cadell Jun. and W. Davies, 1801), III:29, 31, 28. On More’s shifting relationship with the theatre see Emma Major, Madam Britannia: Women, Church, and Nation (Oxford: OUP, 2012), 299-303. 58  On this idea see Julia Swindells, Glorious Causes: The Grand Theatre of Political Change, 1789 to 1833 (Oxford: OUP, 2001), 139-140; and Jeffrey N. Cox, ‘Ideology and genre in the British anti-revolutionary drama of the 1790s’, ELH, vol.  58, no.  3 (Autumn 1991), 579-610. 59  See John Barrell, Imagining the King’s Death: Figurative Treason, Fantasies of Regicide, 1793-1796 (Oxford: OUP, 2000), 567-569; Daniel O’Quinn, ‘Insurgent Allegories: Staging Venice Preserv’d, The Rivals and Speculation in 1795’, Literature Compass, vol. 1 (December 2004) [1 February 2016], and Sean McEvoy, Theatrical Unrest: Ten Riots in the History of the Stage (Oxon: Routledge, 2016), 35-46. 60  Tomahawk, or Censor General, 30 October 1795. 61  Tomahawk, Oct. 1795.

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in 1740 that ‘the partial claps of only twenty ill-minded Persons among several hundreds of silent hearers […] frequently draw into their party the indifferent, or inapprehensive’, and cause them to ‘join in the Triumph!’62 Echoing Cibber’s standpoint in 1793, the radical philosopher William Godwin hypothesised that when ideas are transmitted rapidly before a lively crowd, ‘sympathy of opinion catches from man to man’, and ‘actions may be determined on’, especially by ‘persons whose passions have not been used to the curb of judgement’, which ‘solitary reflection would have rejected’.63 As both writers suggest, buoyant interjections from accompanying spectators deny the individual the chance to ruminate independently on the content consumed before judging of its meaning. Unable to survey the drama’s implications in a meditative environment, as they could do in the closet, theatregoers are susceptible to indulging in and acting on rashly formed ideas, championed by those around them, which might have been recanted if carefully considered in private.64 The supposition that certain groups of people, namely the ‘indifferent, or inapprehensive’, and those who lack ‘the curb of judgement’, are most likely to be misled by sentiments dispersed in crowded settings, foregrounds another of the theatre’s idiosyncrasies: its accessibility to all crosssections of society.65 Not only did its unpoliced admission of an all-encompassing public render the Georgian theatre an arena ripe for political antagonism, but it allowed for narratives to be interpreted by particularly impressionable individuals: among whom, women were commonly categorised.66 Gisborne argues in his Enquiry that along with ‘the lowest orders of the people, […] young women are the persons likely to imbibe the strongest tinge from the sentiments and transactions set before them in the drama’. Justifying this claim, he explains that women’s 62  Colley Cibber, An Apology for the Life of Mr Colley Cibber (London: John Watts, 1740), 170, 169. 63  William Godwin, An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, 2 vols (Dublin: Luke White, 1793), I:208. 64  For more on this idea see Connolly Censorship, 180-181; and Barbara Darby, ‘Spectacle and Revolution in 1790s Tragedy’, Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, vol. 39, no. 3 (Summer 1999), 575-596. 65  On the inclusivity of Georgian theatregoers and the resulting conflicts see E.P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (London: Penguin Books reprint, 1991), 807-809. 66  On eighteenth-century theories of female spectatorship see Jean Marsden, Fatal Desire: Women, Sexuality, and the English Stage, 1660-1720 (London: Cornell UP, 2006); Marsden, ‘Modesty Unshackled’, 21-35; and Ros Ballaster, ‘Rivals for the Repertory: Theatre and Novel in Georgian London’, RECTR, vol. 21, issue 1 (Summer 2012), 15-21.

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‘openness of heart, warmth of feeling’, and ‘proneness to give large scope to the influence of association and of sympathy’ renders them ‘liable, in a particular degree, to be practically impressed by the language and examples brought forward on the stage’.67 Gisborne’s statement is significant in intimating the distinct hazards associated with the figure of the female warrior. Encouraged by their professed proclivity for sympathetic identification ‘to pardon’, or ‘perhaps to imitate vicious character[s]’ exhibited in the theatre, the stage amazon, evocative of the ‘spirit of democracy’ ravaging France, carries a markedly ominous menace to public conduct and morality.68

Methodology, Objectives and Content Overview The wealth of scholarship casting new and fundamental light on Romantic theatre’s relationship with gender, military campaigns, and European dramatic traditions has paved the way for an impactful study of the stage amazon, capable of spotlighting the figure’s profound and far-reaching interactions with social, political and national debates. Expedited by the pioneering scholarship of theatre historians including Kristina Straub, Ellen Donkin and Catherine Burroughs, a rich and vital corpus of studies redressing the imbalance of theatre histories devoted to male and female players and playwrights of the Georgian period has emerged, significantly advancing scholarly understanding of the relationship between women and theatre in eighteenth-century Britain.69 My book builds on these studies. Investigating the agency of female playwrights and performers in shaping responses to female-perpetrated violence, by homing in on figures including Elizabeth Inchbald, Sarah Siddons and Sarah Yates, my study emphasises the theatre’s facilitation of women’s interventions in public and political disputes.  Gisborne, Enquiry, 163-164.  Ibid., 171. 69  See esp. Straub, Sexual Suspects; Swindells, Glorious Causes; Nussbaum, Rival Queens; Brooks, Actresses; Ellen Donkin, Getting into the Act: Women Playwrights in London, 1776-1829 (New York: Routledge, 1995); Catherine Burroughs, Closet Stages: Joanna Baillie and the Theater Theory of British Romantic Women Writers (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997); Burroughs (ed.), Women in British Romantic Theatre: Drama, Performance, and Society, 1790-1840 (Cambridge: CUP, 2000); and Betsy Bolton, Women, Nationalism, and the Romantic Stage: Theatre and Politics in Britain, 1780-1800 (Cambridge: CUP, 2001). 67 68

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My book enters additionally into important dialogues with scholarly investigations of British responses to the French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. After a period of critical neglect, and a subsequent interest confined predominantly to writings of the 1790s and the post-­Waterloo years, scholars including Simon Bainbridge, J.  R. Watson, Philip Shaw, Jeffrey N. Cox and Mary Favret have been influential in expanding interest in Romantic responses to war and conflict to encompass the 1800s and early 1810s: years which, as their studies show, are filled with major historical events that vitally impact Britain’s literary culture.70 This evolving interest in Romantic responses to military campaigns has extended to theatre scholarship. Seminal works by George Taylor, Gillian Russell and Susan Valladares have provided fascinating insight into the relationship between the French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars and performances staged contemporaneously in Britain. Uniting these integral studies is an emphasis on audiences’ vigilance to the theatre’s allegorical engagements with contemporary acts of terror and martial conflict. While Taylor documents the staging in London of spectacular genres which allude metaphorically to revolutionary horrors in a manner subtle enough to evade censorship, Russell and Valladares each illustrate the tendency for new and adapted plays to be appropriated and reappropriated in accordance with coinciding national and international military affairs.71 As my book aims to show, the arms-bearing heroine was especially prone to such allegorical reconfigurations and interpretations, making her a rich and exciting figure around which to build investigations of the veiled political, national, and international commentaries that manage to seep into theatrical entertainments during a period of enhanced censorship. The period’s illegitimate theatre, having suffered a similar paucity of critical attention, is now equally beginning to thrive as a topic of scholarly enquiry. My work is indebted particularly to studies emphasising the cultural importance of new dramatic genres imported from Europe: notably, 70  See Simon Bainbridge, Napoleon and English Romanticism (Cambridge: CUP, 1995); Bainbridge, British Poetry; Jeffrey N.  Cox, Romanticism in the Shadow of War: Literary Culture in the Napoleonic War Years (Cambridge: CUP, 2014); J. R. Watson, Romanticism and War: A Study of British Romantic Period Writers and the Napoleonic Wars (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003); and Mary A. Favret, War at a Distance: Romanticism and the Making of Modern Wartime (Princeton: Princeton UP, 2010). 71  See Taylor, The French Revolution; Gillian Russell, The Theatres of War: Performance, Politics and Society, 1793-1815 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995); and Susan Valladares, Staging the Peninsular War: English Theatres, 1807-1815 (London: Routledge, 2015).

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the German Sturm und Drang and the French-derived melodrama. Essential works by Peter Mortensen, Michael Gamer, Matthew Buckley, Frederick Burwick and Jane Moody, to list just a sample, have exposed the political and cultural poignancy of these interrelated genres, which grow out of the revolutionary and Napoleonic moments, and have begun to unpack the genres’ idiosyncratic dealings with modern social categories including class, race, and gender: categories which, as Carolyn Williams summarises, they do not merely reflect, but actively shape.72 My book further nuances understandings of the socio-cultural impact exerted by these genres by making a case for the significant role played by each in accelerating the armed woman’s development on stage at the turn of the nineteenth century. Advancements in British Romantic theatre scholarship have signalled the need for the performed drama to be analysed as a genre distinct from that of the written script if its cultural impact is to be fully and accurately acknowledged. Writing in 2013, Worrall contends that ‘insofar as literary studies can be described as a branch of theatre studies (or vice-versa) a situation of critical asymmetry has arisen in which playwrights and play texts have provided the primary context for scholarly enquiry’. This method is ineffectual in assessing a play’s theatrical reception, continues Worrall, as ‘performance meanings are always distributed at the location of the performance venue, rather than residing principally in the fixed status 72  Carolyn Williams, ‘Introduction’, in The Cambridge Companion to English Melodrama, ed. Carolyn Williams (Cambridge: CUP, 2018), 3. See Peter Mortensen, British Romanticism and Continental Influences: Writing in an Age of Europhobia (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004); Michael Gamer, Romanticism and the Gothic: Genre, Reception, and Canon Formation (Cambridge: CUP, 2000); Gamer, ‘Gothic Melodrama’, in Cambridge Companion to English Melodrama, 31-46; Gamer, ‘“And the Explosion Immediately takes Place”: Romantic Tragedy and the Ends of Melodrama’, in Romantic Dialects: Culture, Gender, Theatre: Essays in Honour of Lilla Maria Crisafulli, eds. Serena Baiesi and Stuart Curran (Bern: Peter Lang, 2018), 185-201; Jane Moody, Illegitimate Theatre in London, 1770-1840 (Cambridge: CUP, 2000); Matthew Buckley, ‘Refugee Theatre: Melodrama and Modernity’s Loss’, Theatre Journal, vol. 61, no. 2 (May 2009), 175-190; Buckley, ‘The Formation of Melodrama’, in The Oxford Handbook of the Georgian Theatre, 1737-1832, eds. David Francis Taylor and Julia Swindells (Oxford: OUP, 2014), 457-474; Buckley, ‘Early English Melodrama’, in Cambridge Companion to Melodrama, ed. Williams, 13-30; Frederick Burwick, British Drama of the Industrial Revolution (Cambridge: CUP, 2015); Jeffrey N. Cox, ‘The Death of Tragedy; or, the Birth of Melodrama’, in The Performing Century: Nineteenth-­Century Theatre’s History, eds. Tracy C. Davis and Peter Holland (Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 161-181; and Jackie Bratton, ‘Romantic Melodrama’, in The Cambridge Companion to British Theatre, 1730-1830, eds. Jane Moody and Daniel O’Quinn (Cambridge: CUP, 2007), 115-128.

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of the authorial text’.73 My book actively enforces this idea. By scrutinising plays as both texts and performances, and foregrounding through such scrutiny the many theatrical strands that interweave to equip the armed woman with an array of multifaceted meanings, my study spotlights the fundamental impact of performance contexts in enhancing, amending, and occasionally transforming outright the female warrior’s textual identity. The Arms-Bearing Woman combines close literary analyses of written scripts and detailed assessments of plays’ production and performance histories with a consistent attentiveness to social, political, cultural, national and international contexts. In crossing traditional disciplinary boundaries, my methodology makes full use of the investigative tools of literary, theatrical and historical criticisms, and exploits the analytical possibilities made available by the surviving source materials that accompany my chosen plays. Readings of my primary sources are informed by documents including a protest for women’s martial rights produced in France in 1791; multi-media depictions of Marie Antoinette circulating in Britain in and around 1794; newspaper reports documenting the murder of an actress’ husband at his home in Pimlico in 1796; visual and verbal representations of the 1801 Act of Union; and journalistic as well as fictional accounts of women’s martial mobilisation during the Peninsular war. Conclusions around dramatic representation and reception are nuanced moreover by analyses of licensing manuscripts, performance reviews, advertisements, playbills, playwrights’ correspondence, and the repute of foreign source texts; and by interrogations of performance venues, theatrical spectacle, and actress’ reputations: both professional and private. Utilising contextual data gauged from this eclectic and comprehensive range of sources, I grapple to expose the wide-ranging complexities of the female warrior’s characterisation, by showing her multifaceted and mutable identity not to be dictated definitively by any one underlying cause, but to be determined instead by a copious selection of diverse and intertwining elements. Aiming not to provide a dense or comprehensive overview of the period’s representational norms, as has been attempted in literary scholarship, but to enter into macrocosmic debates about British politics, popular culture and nationhood using detailed microstudies of representative dramas, The Arms-Bearing Woman comprises meticulous readings of a judiciously selected sample of plays and performances, each of which cast female  Worrall, Celebrity 9, 10. See also Swindells, Glorious Causes, 141-142.

73

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warriors in excitingly disparate and idiosyncratic moulds. I have chosen on the one hand to privilege plays that cast light on critically neglected performances, playwrights and actresses, so as to rescue from obscurity play  texts and figures ripe for scholarly interrogation. I have prioritised additionally plays that exemplify the armed woman’s richly layered allusions to figures and moments of local, political, national, and international significance, so as to spotlight the often unexpected meanings that lurk beneath the dramas’ surface narratives. Juxtaposing new scripts from the period with revivals and adaptations of both British and foreign source texts, I look moreover to advance scholarly understanding of the ways in which late eighteenth-century playwrights respond to developments in revolutionary and Napoleonic France, while building concurrently on the growing corpus of work that charts the potential for plays from the past to foster new cultural values when reinterpreted through the lens of the present.74 My book is structured both thematically, and, as far as is possible, chronologically. Organising my material this way assists my diachronic approach while providing the scope to explore specific playwrights, genres, cultural movements and representational innovations in appropriate depth. The first of my chapters (Chap. 2) focuses on Elizabeth Inchbald’s sentimental comedy Next Door Neighbours (Haymarket; 1791), and her unstaged tragedy The Massacre (1792). I argue that both dramas overtly contest Enlightenment theories of gender by showing martial combat to usurp feminine sensibility as women’s surest form of self-defence against male-perpetrated violence and assault. The chapter traces the development of theatrical censorship and addresses the extent to which the processes of textual adaptation and theatrical embodiment, as well as the demands and potentialities of genre and form, varyingly help and hider the female playwright seeking to communicate progressive standpoints on women and armed violence in the opening years of the revolutionary campaign. Chapter 3 indicates the surprisingly novel meanings embodied by murderous Queens of the past, both fictional and real, when resurrected on the post-Reign of Terror London stage. Analyses of a performance of Lady 74  For works in this field see esp. David Taylor, The Politics of Parody: A Literary History of Caricature, 1760-1830 (USA: Yale UP, 2018), 71-139; Jonathan Bate, Shakespearean Constitutions: Politics, Theatre, Criticism, 1730-1830 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989); Valladares, Staging the Peninsular Wars, 59-105; and Frans de Bruyn, ‘Shakespeare and the French Revolution’ in Shakespeare in the Eighteenth Century, eds. Fiona Ritchie and Peter Sabor (Cambridge: CUP, 2012), 297-313.

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Macbeth acted by Sarah Siddons in 1794, and a rendition of Thomas Francklin’s Margaret of Anjou, played by Sarah Yates in 1797, reveal martial heroines whose theatrical identities acquire a new degree of complexity as a result of the context in which they are staged, which freights them with allusions to contemporary figures of political and local significance. I argue that Siddons’ innovative personation of Lady Macbeth, and the theatrical spectacle accompanying the performance, create intriguing parallels between Shakespeare’s regicidal heroine and the recently deceased Marie Antoinette, which work to transform Macbeth into a powerful vehicle for monarchical sentiments. In the second case study, I propose that theatregoers’ knowledge of the private affliction suffered by Yates shortly before her performance in London encourages audiences to blend the actress’ authentic self with that of her theatrical role, thereby converting Francklin’s bloodthirsty and power-hungry Queen into a devoted and sentimental mother. Chapter 4 moves from England to Ireland, and from theatrical representations of fictional and historical amazons to dramatic negotiations of a contemporary murderess. In 1794 and 1804 respectively, republican woman Charlotte Corday, French assassin of Jacobin leader Jean-Paul Marat, was the subject of two performances staged at the Crow Street Theatre, Dublin: The Maid of Normandy; or, the Death of the Queen of France (1794), by English playwright John Edmund Eyre, and Female Heroism, a Tragedy in Five Acts (1803; performed 1804), by Irish Vicar and occasional author Matthew West. Foregrounding evolving attitudes in Britain to the relationship between political activism and feminine feeling, and tracing shifting Anglo-Irish relations across the ten-year period, this chapter shows Eyre’s romantic, royalist and debilitatingly sentimental heroine to be transformed by West into a figure reconcilable with a revised model of republican heroism, and aligned simultaneously with the cause of Irish independence. Chapter 5 turns its attention to the nascent Anglo-German drama and its ubiquitous arms-bearing heroine. Assessing the genre’s violent heroine through the Europhobic lens that prevails at the close of the 1790s, I show the figure’s decidedly non-British characteristics to clash with native theatrical tastes, and to foster in her an insidious endorsement of sexual rebellion and revolt. This chapter utilises British reviews of Schiller’s The Robbers (1781), Matthew G. Lewis’ The Castle Spectre (DL; 1797) and Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s Pizarro (DL; 1799) to pinpoint the varying defects accused of distinguishing the German heroine and her

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Anglo-German equivalent inauspiciously from her British tragic counterpart. Then, via analyses of Joseph George Holman’s The Red-Cross Knights (Haymarket; 1799), Richard Cumberland’s Joanna of Montfaucon (CG; 1800), and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Remorse (DL; 1813)—the latter presenting a particularly curious relationship with German theatrical traditions—I demonstrate the meticulous and sometimes unexpected methods used by dramatists at the start of the nineteenth century to mollify the subversive implications and effects of heroines derived from foreign works aligned starkly with the revolutionary cause. I return to Coleridge’s tragedy in my book’s concluding chapter, which investigates theatrical responses to the Peninsular war and the prolonged experience of revolutionary unrest. Nuancing my prior reading of Remorse by blending Anglo-German and Anglo-Hispanic perspectives, I grapple to situate Coleridge’s Schiller-inspired heroine within discourses of national identity pertaining both to Germany and Spain, at a time when the former connotes cultural otherness, and the latter has become a national ally. My final case study is the critically neglected military melodrama Charles the Bold (DL; 1815), adapted from Guilbert de Pixerécourt’s Charles le Téméraire (1814), and produced by Samuel Arnold. Interpreting the play as a rich, allegorical amalgam, I signal its allusion to the siege of Saragossa of 1808, by spotlighting the marked likeness between its cannon-firing heroine, Leontina, and the heroic Agustina de Aragon: Spanish amazon par excellence. Showing Charles the Bold to constitute an emergent trend within melodramas of the 1810s for the defeat of virtue over vice to be secured, remarkably, by a spotless heroine’s use of firearms, I propose the melodrama’s facilitation of a new type of stage amazon, whose degree of heroism, destructiveness and agency vastly surpasses that of her 1790s forerunner, and whose unexpected coalescence of spotlessness and deadliness suits her seamlessly to the melodrama’s affective replication of revolutionary trauma. These chapters work together to form a complex narrative that illustrates the female warrior’s fluid identity on the British stage, pinpointing the ways in which her characterisation progresses and develops in accordance with Britain’s perpetually shifting relationships with home and European nations, and with the importation and popularisation of new foreign genres. Travelling from a sentimental comedy of 1791, in which a domestic heroine raises a pistol against a sexual aggressor within the confines of the home, to a military melodrama of 1815, which sees a soldierly heroine march fearlessly onto the battlefield and fire a cannon which

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destroys a national enemy, my book unpicks the theatre’s significant interventions in evolving attitudes to gender, sex and nationhood, across different stages of a historical epoch characterised by intense cultural and social transition, and marked by striking theatrical innovations. Providing a more thorough and intricate treatment of the combatant heroine than has yet been attempted in British Romantic theatre scholarship, The ArmsBearing Woman traces in detail the multiple catalysts for the martial heroine’s intriguing and continual metamorphoses across the twenty-six year period. At the same time, it foregrounds her status as a potent ideological symbol, freighted with eclectic and surprising allusions to local, national, and international affairs.

References Newspapers

and

Periodicals

Gentleman’s Magazine (The) Times (The) Tomahawk, or Censor General True Briton (The) Whitehall Evening Post

Primary and Secondary Works (Printed) Applewhite, Harriet B., and Darline G. Levy, ‘Women and militant citizenship in revolutionary Paris’, in Rebel Daughters: Women and the French Revolution, eds. Sara E. Melzer and Leslie W. Rabine (Oxford: OUP, 1992), 79-101 Backscheider, Paula R., Women in Wartime: Theatrical Representations in the Long Eighteenth Century (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2021) Bainbridge, Simon, British Poetry and the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars: Visions of Conflict (Oxford: OUP, 2003) Bainbridge, Simon, Napoleon and English Romanticism (Cambridge: CUP, 1995) Ballaster, Ros, ‘Rivals for the Repertory: Theatre and Novel in Georgian London’, RECTR, vol. 21, issue 1 (Summer 2012), 5-24 Barker-Benfield, G.  J., The Culture of Sensibility: Sex and Society in EighteenthCentury Britain (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992) Barrell, John, Imagining the King’s Death: Figurative Treason, Fantasies of Regicide, 1793-1796 (Oxford: OUP, 2000) Bate, Jonathan Bate, Shakespearean Constitutions: Politics, Theatre, Criticism, 1730-1830 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989)

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Binhammer, Katherine, ‘The Sex Panic of the 1790s’, Journal of the History of Sexuality, vol. 6, no. 3 (January 1996), 409-434 Blakemore, Steven, Crisis in Representation: Thomas Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft, Helen Maria Williams and the Rewriting of the French Revolution (London: Associated UPs, 1997) Bolton, Betsy, Women, Nationalism, and the Romantic Stage: Theatre and Politics in Britain, 1780-1800 (Cambridge: CUP, 2001) Bratton, Jackie, ‘Romantic Melodrama’, in The Cambridge Companion to British Theatre, 1730-1830, eds. Jane Moody and Daniel O’Quinn (Cambridge: CUP, 2007), 115-128 Brissenden, R.  F., Virtue in Distress: Studies in the Novel of Sentiment from Richardson to Sade (London: Macmillan, 1974) Brooks, Helen, Actresses, Gender, and the Eighteenth-Century Stage: Playing Women (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) Bruyn, Frans de, ‘Shakespeare and the French Revolution’ in Shakespeare in the Eighteenth Century, eds. Fiona Ritchie and Peter Sabor (Cambridge: CUP, 2012), 297-313 Buckley, Matthew, ‘Early English Melodrama’, in The Cambridge Companion to English Melodrama, ed. Carolyn Williams (Cambridge: CUP, 2018), 13-30 Buckley, Matthew, ‘Refugee Theatre: Melodrama and Modernity’s Loss’, Theatre Journal, vol. 61, no. 2 (May 2009), 175-190 Buckley, Matthew, ‘The Formation of Melodrama’, in The Oxford Handbook of the Georgian Theatre, 1737-1832, eds. David Francis Taylor and Julia Swindells (Oxford: OUP, 2014), 457-474 Burke, Edmund, Reflections on the Revolution in France (London: J. Dodsley, 1790) Burroughs, Catherine (ed.), Women in British Romantic Theatre: Drama, Performance, and Society, 1790-1840 (Cambridge: CUP, 2000) Burroughs, Catherine, Closet Stages: Joanna Baillie and the Theater Theory of British Romantic Women Writers (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997) Burwick, Frederick, British Drama of the Industrial Revolution (Cambridge: CUP, 2015) Burwick, Frederick, Playing to the Crowd: London Popular Theatre, 1780-1830 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) Carey, Brycchan, British Abolitionism and the Rhetoric of Sensibility: Writing, Sentiment and Slavery, 1760-1807 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) Cibber, Colley, An Apology for the Life of Mr Colley Cibber (London: John Watts, 1740) Colley, Linda, Britons: Forging the Nation (New York: Yale UP, 1994) Colman, George, Random Records, 2 vols (London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1830)

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Conolly, L.  W., The Censorship of English Drama, 1737-1824 (San Marino: Huntington Library Press, 1976) Cox, Jeffrey N. and Michael Gamer, ‘Introduction’, in The Broadview Anthology of Romantic Drama, eds. Jeffrey N. Cox and Michael Gamer (Canada: Broadview Press, 2003) Cox, Jeffrey N., ‘Ideology and Genre in the British Antirevolutionary Drama of the 1790s’, ELH, vol. 58, no. 3 (Autumn 1991), 579-610 Cox, Jeffrey N., ‘The Death of Tragedy; or, the Birth of Melodrama’, in The Performing Century: Nineteenth-Century Theatre’s History, eds. Tracy C. Davis and Peter Holland (Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 161-181 Cox, Jeffrey N., Romanticism in the Shadow of War: Literary Culture in the Napoleonic War Years (Cambridge: CUP, 2014) Craciun, Adriana, ‘The New Cordays: Helen Craik and British Representations of Charlotte Corday’, in Rebellious Hearts: British Women Writers and the French Revolution, eds. Adriana Craciun and Kari E. Lokke (New York: State University of New York Press, 2001), 193-232 Craciun, Adriana, Fatal Women of Romanticism (Cambridge: CUP, 2003) Craft-Fairchild, Catherine, ‘Cross-Dressing and the Novel: Women Warriors and Domestic Femininity,’ Eighteenth-Century Fiction, vol. 10, issue 2 (January 1998), 171-202 Darby, Barbara, ‘Spectacle and Revolution in 1790s Tragedy’, Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, vol. 39, no. 3 (Summer 1999), 575-596 Donald, Diana, The Age of Caricature: Satirical Prints in the Reign of George III (New Haven: Yale UP, 1996) Donkin, Ellen, Getting into the Act: Women Playwrights in London, 1776-1829 (New York: Routledge, 1995) Dugaw, Dianne, Warrior Women and Popular Balladry, 1650-1850 (New York: CUP, 1989) Evans, Chris, Debating the Revolution: Britain in the 1790s (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) Faflak, Joe, and Richard C. Sha (eds.), Romanticism and the Emotions (Cambridge: CUP, 2014) Favret, Mary A., War at a Distance: Romanticism and the Making of Modern Wartime (Princeton: Princeton UP, 2010) Friedman-Romell, Beth H. ‘Breaking the Code: Toward a Reception Theory of Theatrical Cross-Dressing in Eighteenth-Century London’, EighteenthCentury Representations, vol. 47, no. 4 (December 1995), 459-479 Fulford, Tim, Romanticism and Masculinity: Gender, Politics and Poetics in the Writings of Burke, Coleridge, Cobbett, Wordsworth, De Quincey and Hazlitt (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999) Furniss, Tom, Edmund Burke’s Aesthetic Ideology: Language, Gender, and Political Economy in Revolution (Cambridge: CUP, 1993)

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Gamer, Michael, ‘“And the explosion immediately takes place”: Romantic Tragedy and the Ends of Melodrama’, in Romantic Dialects: Culture, Gender, Theatre: Essays in Honour of Lilla Maria Crisafulli, eds. Serena Baiesi and Stuart Curran (Bern: Peter Lang, 2018a), 185-201 Gamer, Michael, ‘Gothic Melodrama’, in The Cambridge Companion to English Melodrama, ed. Carolyn Williams (Cambridge: CUP, 2018), 31-46 Gamer, Michael, Romanticism and the Gothic: Genre, Reception, and Canon Formation (Cambridge: CUP, 2000) Garnai, Amy, ‘Radicalism, Caution, and Censorship in Elizabeth Inchbald’s Every One Has His Fault’, Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, vol. 47, no. 3, ‘Restoration and Eighteenth Century’ (Summer, 2007), 703-722 Garnai, Amy, Revolutionary Imaginings in the 1790s: Charlotte Smith, Mary Robinson, Elizabeth Inchbald (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) Gisborne, Thomas, An Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex (London: T. Cadell jun. and W. Davies, 1797) Godineau, Dominique, The Women of Paris and their French Revolution, trans. Katherine Streip (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998) Godwin, William, An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, 2 vols (Dublin: Luke White, 1793) Green, Katherine S., ‘Mr Harmony and the Events of January 1793: Elizabeth Inchbald’s Everyone Has His Fault’, Theatre Journal, vol. 56 (March 2004), 47-62 Grieg, Hannah, The Beau Monde: Fashionable Society in Georgian London (Oxford: OUP, 2013) Guest, Harriet, Unbounded Attachment: Sentiment and Politics in the Age of the French Revolution (Oxford: OUP, 2013) Gullickson, Gay L. Unruly Women of Paris: Images of the Commune (London: Cornell UP, 1996) Gutwirth, Madelyn, The Twilight of the Goddesses: Women and Representation in the French Revolutionary Era (New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1992) Hoagwood, Terence Allan, ‘Romantic Drama and Historical Hermeneutics’, in British Romantic Drama: Historical and Critical Essays, eds. Terence Allan Hoagwood and Daniel Watkins (London: Associated UPs, 1998), 22-55 Hufton, Olwen H., Women and the Limits of Citizenship in the French Revolution (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992) Hunt, Lynn, and Margaret Jacob, ‘The Affective Revolution in 1790s Britain’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 34, no. 4 (Summer, 2001), 491-521 Hunt, Lynn, The Family Romance of the French Revolution (California: Routledge, 1992) Jenkins, Annabel, I’ll Tell You What: The Life of Elizabeth Inchbald (Lexington: UP of Kentucky, 2003)

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Johnson, Claudia, Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender, and Sentimentality in the 1790s: Wollstonecraft, Radcliffe, Burney, Austen (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995) Jones, Chris, Radical Sensibility: Literature and Ideas in the 1790s (London: Routledge, 1993) Kromm, Jane, ‘Representations of Revolutionary Women in Political Caricature’, in The French Revolution Debate in English Literature and Culture, ed. Lisa Plummer Crafton (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1997), 126-131 Lewis, Matthew G., The Castle Spectre: A Drama in Five Acts (London: J. Bell, 1798) MacDonald, D.  L., ‘Revolution and Counter-Revolution in the Plays of M. G. Lewis’, Lumen, vol. 14 (1995), 139-147. Major, Emma, Madam Britannia: Women, Church, and Nation (Oxford: OUP, 2012) Marsden, Jean, ‘Modesty Unshackled: Dorothy Jordan and the Dangers of CrossDressing’, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, vol. 22 (January 1993), 21-35 Marsden, Jean, Fatal Desire: Women, Sexuality, and the English Stage, 1660-1720 (London: Cornell UP, 2006) Maslan, Susan, Revolutionary Acts: Theater, Democracy, and the French Revolution (Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 2005) McEvoy, Sean, Theatrical Unrest: Ten Riots in the History of the Stage (Oxon: Routledge, 2016) McGann, Jerome, The Poetics of Sensibility: A Revolution in Poetic Style (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996) McMillan, James F., France and Women, 1789-1914: Gender, Society and Politics (London: Routledge, 2000) Moody, Jane, ‘Illusions of Authorship’, in Women and Playwrighting in NineteenthCentury Britain, eds. Tracy C.  Davis and Ellen Donkin (Cambridge: CUP, 1999), 99-124 Moody, Jane, Illegitimate Theatre in London, 1770-1840 (Cambridge: CUP, 2000) Moore, Lucy, Liberty: The Lives and Times of Six Women in Revolutionary France (London: Harper Perennial, 2007) Moores, John Richard, Representations of France and the French in English Satirical Prints, 1740-1832 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) More, Hannah, The Works of Hannah More, in eight volumes: including several pieces never before published, 8 vols (London: T. Cadell Jun. and W. Davies, 1801) Mortensen, Peter, British Romanticism and Continental Influences: Writing in an Age of Europhobia (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) Nagle, Christopher, Sexuality and the Culture of Sensibility in the British Romantic Era (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) Nielsen, Wendy C., Women Warriors in Romantic Drama (Plymouth: University of Delaware Press, 2013)

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Nussbaum, Felicity, Rival Queens: Actresses, Performance, and the EighteenthCentury British Theatre (Oxford: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010) O’Quinn, Daniel, ‘Insurgent Allegories: Staging Venice Preserv’d, The Rivals and Speculation in 1795’, Literature Compass, vol. 1 (December 2004)

[1 February 2016] Paul, C. Kegan, William Godwin: His friends and Contemporaries, 2 vols (London: Henry S. King & co., 1876) Philp, Mark, Reforming Ideas in Britain: Politics and Language in the Shadow of the French Revolution (Cambridge: CUP, 2014) Pinch, Adela, Strange Fits of Passion: Epistemologies of Emotion, Hume to Austen (California: Stanford University Press, 1996) Rogers, Pat, ‘The Breeches Part’, in Sexuality in Eighteenth-Century Britain, ed. Paul-Gabriel Boucé (Manchester: Manchester UP, 1982), 244-258 Russell, Gillian, The Theatres of War: Performance, Politics and Society, 1793-1815 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995) Saglia, Diego ‘“O My Mother Spain!”: The Peninsular War, Family Matters, and the Practice of Romantic Nation-Writing’, ELH, vol. 65, no. 2 (Summer 1998), 363-393 Saglia, Diego, ‘Spanish Tragedies: British Romantic Tragedy and Theatrical Politics of Spain, 1808-1823’, European Romantic Review, vol. 19, no. 1 (2008), 19-32 Silvani, Giovani, ‘Matthew G. Lewis’ Theatre: Fear on Stage’, in The Romantic Stage: A Many-Sided Mirror, eds. Lilla Maria Crisafullli and Fabio Liberto (New York: Rodopi, 2014), 185-198 Straub, Kristina, Sexual Suspects: Eighteenth-Century Players and Sexual Ideology (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1992) Swindells, Julia, Glorious Causes: The Grand Theatre of Political Change, 1789 to 1833 (Oxford: OUP, 2001) Taylor, David, The Politics of Parody: A Literary History of Caricature, 1760-1830 (USA: Yale UP, 2018) Taylor, George, The French Revolution and the London Stage (Cambridge: CUP, 2000) Thompson, E.  P., The Making of the English Working Class (London: Penguin Books reprint, 1991) Todd, Janet, Sensibility: An Introduction (London: Methuen, 1986) Valladares, Susan, Staging the Peninsular War: English Theatres, 1807-1815 (London: Routledge, 2015) Wahrman, Dror, The Making of the Modern Self (New Haven: Yale UP, 2004) Watson, J. R., Romanticism and War: A Study of British Romantic Period Writers and the Napoleonic Wars (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)

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Williams, Carolyn, ‘Introduction’, in The Cambridge Companion to English Melodrama, ed. Carolyn Williams (Cambridge: CUP, 2018), 1-12 Wilson, Brett, A Race of Female Patriots: Women and Public Spirit on the British Stage, 1688-1745 (Plymouth: Bucknell UP, 2012) Wollstonecraft, Mary, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (London: J. Johnson, 1792) Worrall, David, Celebrity, Performance, Reception: British Georgian Theatre as Social Assemblage (Cambridge: CUP, 2013) Worrall, David, Theatric Revolution: Drama, Censorship, and Romantic Period Subcultures, 1773-1832 (Oxford: OUP, 2006) Young, Mary Julia, Memoirs of Mrs Crouch, 2 vols. (London: James Asperne, 1806) Zerilli, Linda, Signifying Woman: Culture and Chaos in Rousseau, Burke, and Mill (London: Cornell UP, 1994)

CHAPTER 2

‘Unbrutifying Man’: Armed Women and Male Reform in Elizabeth Inchbald’s Dramas

In his tragedy Venice Preserved (1682) Thomas Otway has his character Jaffeir declare of the female sex, ‘O woman! Lovely woman! Nature made thee/to temper man: we had been brutes without you’. Jaffeir’s suggestion that the male character is essentially tempered by ‘Lovely woman’ reflects Enlightenment theories of civilisation which showed women’s ‘softness and delicacy’1 to distinguish ‘a civilised age from times of barbarity’ by disarming men’s ‘fierceness and appeasing [their] wrath’.2 On the

1  Thomas Otway, Venice Preserved: Or, a Plot Discovered, as it is acted at The Duke’s Theatre (London: Jos. Hindmarsh, 1682), I.i.10. 2  David Hume, Essays and treatises on several subjects (London: A. Millar, 1753), 291; James Fordyce, Sermons to young women, 2 vols (London: T. Cadell, 1766), I:208. See Sylvana Tomaselli, ‘The Enlightenment Debate on Women’, History Workshop, no. 20 (Autumn 1985), 101-24; Jane Rendall, The Origins of Modern Feminism: Women in Britain, France and the United States, 1780-1860 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1985), 7-32; John Dwyer, Virtuous Discourse: Sensibility and Community in late Eighteenth-Century Scotland (Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers, 1987), 95-167; Catherine Hall and Leonore Davidoff, Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850 (London: Routledge, 1992), 149-176; and G.J. Barker-Benfield, The Culture of Sensibility: Sex and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 215-286.

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023 S. Burdett, The Arms-Bearing Woman and British Theatre in the Age of Revolution, 1789-1815, Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-15474-4_2

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one hand, as scholars such as John Dwyer have proposed, the power attributed to femininity offered potential appeal to women, as it ‘propagandised a privileged place for women in the moral order’.3 Yet, as Sylvana Tomaselli contends, there were ‘a cluster of reasons’ why the theory disadvantaged women, which were readily apparent to ‘those who were in the business of making the case for women as potentially no less worthy than men’.4 Scholars including Barbara Taylor and Laura Runge have detected a corpus of works by early British feminists which accuse ostensibly liberal eighteenth-century writers of using stadial models of development to confirm and perpetuate women’s inferiority.5 To this corpus can be added Letter to the Women of England (1799) by actress, poet, novelist and dramatist Mary Robinson. In her Letter, Robinson alludes directly to Venice Preserved when issuing the statement: Men allow that women are absolutely necessary to their happiness and that they “had been brutes” without them. But the poet did not insinuate that none but silly or ignorant women were to be allowed the supreme honour of unbrutifying man.6

As the assertion indicates, Robinson took umbrage with the implication derived from Enlightenment theories of progress that women must construct themselves as weak and sentimental, or, to use her own phrase, ‘silly and ignorant’, if they are to be credited with the ‘supreme honour of unbrutifying man’. During the 1790s, the idea that femininity was indeed women’s surest safeguard against male aggression provided a useful tool with which British women’s emulation of their warlike French counterparts could be discouraged. In Harriet Piggott’s anti-Jacobin novel Robert and Adela (1795), for instance, the novel’s heroine, Sabina, counters the notion proclaimed by her sister and Amazonian foil, Susan, that women ought to fight male  Dwyer, Virtuous Discourse, 118.  Sylvana Tomaselli, ‘Civilisation, Patriotism, and Enlightened Histories of Women’, in Women, Gender and Enlightenment, eds. Sarah Knott and Barbara Taylor (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 125. 5  See Barbara Taylor, ‘Feminists versus Gallants: Manners and Morals in Enlightenment Britain’, Representations, vol. 87, no. 1 (Summer 2004), 125-148; and Laura Runge, ‘Beauty and Gallantry: A Model of Polite Conversation Revisited’, Eighteenth-Century Life, vol. 25, no. 1 (Winter 2001), 43-63. 6  Mary Robinson, Letter to the Women of England, on the injustice of mental subordination. With anecdotes (London: T. N. Longman and O. Rees, 1799), 14. 3 4

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tyrants ‘sword in hand’, by proposing that ‘gentleness of manners’ is in fact ‘the best armour’ in which ‘the female frame can possibly be cloathed’.7 Four years later, an article printed in The Lady’s Monthly Museum insisted that ‘Warlike women’, by converting ‘themselves into men […] renounce the empire which they inevitably exercised by their weakness to run vainly after the more equivocal empire of force’.8 Both Piggott and the journalist suggest that women who seek sexual supremacy using physical violence actually rid themselves of their natural and most reliable influence over men, by divesting themselves of the softer virtues from which such influence derives. The woman who imitates a warrior is therefore shown not to decrease her susceptibility to male-inflicted injury, but rather to enhance it, by relinquishing the feminine traits needed to awaken man’s compassion. Robinson’s Letter flies in the face of this theory. Robinson postulates that as long as women continue to respond with ‘tender and delicate’ conduct to ‘every insult, every injury, that her vain-boasting, high-bearing associate, MAN, can inflict’, then men will happily persevere in their misconduct.9 Outrightly opposing Enlightenment theories of civilisation, Robinson presents the contrary, and quite remarkable standpoint, that it is not the woman who ‘trembles at every breeze, faints at every peril, and yields to every assailant’ who is best capable of ‘unbrutifying man’.10 Rather, it is she who abdicates the mental and physical weaknesses for which her sex are manipulatively lauded, by adopting in their place the masculine traits of ‘invincible resolution’, ‘noble daring’, and military ‘self-defence’.11 Robinson makes this case using the anecdote of a ‘foreign lady’ who decides, astoundingly, to ‘take instantly up the pistol’ after resolving ‘to be amply revenged’ against a promiscuous ‘young gentleman’ who has demanded that she give herself to him prior to their wedding. By exhibiting ‘violent anger’ and the ‘warmest resentment’, writes Robinson, the lady impels her aggressor to behave ‘in obedience to her commands’ and to beg ‘her pity and her pardon’. Robinson defines the behaviour of the foreign lady as a ‘heroic act of indignant and insulted 7  Harriet Piggott, Robert and Adela: or, the rights of women best maintained by the sentiments of nature, 2 vols (Dublin: P.  Byrne, P.  Wogan, W.  Jones, and G.  Folingsby, 1795), I:247, 184. 8  ‘Woman. An Apologue’, in The Lady’s Monthly Museum, or Polite Repository of Amusement and Instruction 30 (November 1799), 386-387. 9  Robinson, Letter, 53, 7. 10  Ibid., 90. 11  Ibid., 45, 71, 73.

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virtue’ and shows it to exemplify the model of female conduct needed to enact male reform.12 Seeing his lover armed with the pistol, the villain is not able to continue nonchalantly in his intended abuse, as his victim’s renouncement of her feminine traits allows her to confront and control her aggressor as though she was a man, and to implore the instant cessation and future amendment of his vicious conduct. I have initiated this chapter with a discussion of Robinson’s Letter as I want to argue in the analysis that follows that Robinson’s progressive rebuttal of Enlightenment theories of gender had been anticipated at the start of the decade by the actress, playwright, novelist and drama critic Elizabeth Inchbald: a woman whose comparable professional trajectory to that of Robinson’s I consider non-incidental. Via an analysis of Inchbald’s sentimental drama Next Door Neighbours (Haymarket; 1791) and her unperformed tragedy The Massacre (1792), this chapter builds on scholarly enquiries of Inchbald’s dramatic negotiations of gender by illustrating the extent to which the process of adaptation, the constraints of dramatic censorship and theatrical embodiment, and the possibilities and conventions of dramatic genre as well as form, serve varyingly to help and hinder the female playwright looking to complicate mainstream discourses on the relationship between male civility and female militarisation.13 The topic of adaptation is focal to this discussion given the French derivation of each of the plays in question. Next Door Neighbours is adapted  Ibid., 20, 22, 21, 23, 25.  On Inchbald’s radical depictions of gender see Anna Lott, ‘Sexual Politics in Elizabeth Inchbald’, Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, vol. 34, no. 3, (Summer 1994), 635-648; Amy Garnai, Revolutionary Imaginings in the 1790s: Charlotte Smith, Mary Robinson, Elizabeth Inchbald (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 147-177; Wendy C. Nielsen, ‘A Tragic Farce: Revolutionary Women in Elizabeth Inchbald’s The Massacre and European Drama’, European Romantic Review, vol.  17, no.  3 (July 2006), 275-288; Jane Moody, ‘Inchbald, Holcroft and the Censorship of Jacobin Theatre’, in Women’s Romantic Theatre and Drama, eds. Lilla Maria Crisafullli and Keir Elam (Farnham: Routledge, 2010), 119-214; Misty Anderson, Female Playwrights and Eighteenth-Century Comedy: Negotiating Marriage on the London Stage (New York: Palgrave, 2002), 171-199; Daniel O’Quinn, ‘Scissors and Needles: Inchbald’s Wives as They Were, Maids as They Are and the Governance of Sexual Exchange’, Theatre Journal, vol.  51, no.2 (1999), 105-125; O’Quinn, Staging Governance: Theatrical Imperialism in London, 1770–1800 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005), 14-27, 146–63; Betsy Bolton, Women, Nationalism, and the Romantic Stage: Theatre and Politics in Britain, 1780-1800 (Cambridge: CUP, 2001), 117-129, 220–223; and Paula R.  Backscheider, ‘Retrieving Elizabeth Inchbald’, in The Oxford Handbook of the Georgian Theatre, 1737-1832, eds. David Francis Taylor and Julia Swindells (Oxford: OUP, 2014), 601-618. 12 13

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from Philippe Destouches’ Le Dissipateur (1736) and Louis-Sébastien Mercier’s L’indigent (1772), while The Massacre is based on Mercier’s Jean Hennuyer: évêque de Lizieux (1772). Theatre scholars have proposed the enhanced freedom afforded to dramatists who choose translation over the production of original scripts. Chief among them, Jane Moody conjectures that ‘the split authorial identity entailed by the act of translation’ provides the dramatist with ‘a strategic form of theatrical disguise’ as ‘the politics of the translator’ cannot ‘be distinguished from those of the translation’.14 Such ‘theatrical disguise’ was particularly beneficial to female playwrights, as it provided a means by which women could enter into public and political debates from which they were institutionally debarred while shielded behind the mask of the original (often male) playwright. As a politically liberal female dramatist, alert to the frequency with which reviewers ‘hastily condemn’ literature ‘as of immoral tendency’ and sully the writer’s name, adaptation granted Inchbald an outlet through which she might convey subversive ideologies with apparently limited agency over the standpoints transmitted on stage.15 That such agency was in reality limited, however, is far from the case. As Vita M. Mastroilvestri has shown, in her adaptations, Inchbald magnifies the divergences between ‘established representations of femininity, and the translator’s ideal’ by varying ‘important features of the female characters of her source text’.16 Mastroilvestri’s hypothesis rings particularly true of Next Door Neighbours and The Massacre, in which the revisions made by Inchbald enable stealthy re-imaginings of the gendered implications located in the French originals. An assessment of these plays in relation to their source texts is therefore valuable not only  in furthering understandings of Inchbald’s intricate engagements with sexual politics, but of exposing the potency of transnational exchanges and dialogues in bringing radical ideologies to the London stage.17 14  Jane Moody, ‘Suicide and Translation in the dramaturgy of Elizabeth Inchbald and Anne Plumptre’, in Women in British Romantic Theatre: Drama, Performance, and Society, 1790-1840, ed. Catherine Burroughs (Cambridge: CUP, 2000), 262. 15  Letter from Inchbald to William Godwin, 1794, MS.  Abinger c.2, Dec.509, fol.77. Inchbald’s awareness of this fact was intensified in 1793 following the response to her comedy Every One Has His Fault, discussed later in this chapter. 16  Vita M. Mastrosilvestri, ‘Elizabeth Inchbald: Translation as Mediation and Re-Writing’, in Women’s Romantic Theatre and Drama: History, Agency, and Performativity, eds. Lilla Maria Crisafulli and Keir Elam (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010), 167, 168. 17  Excellent work on this topic has been accelerated by the ‘Radical Translations’ project (2022) headed by Sanja Perovic. See https://radicaltranslations.org

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‘It’s Not Myself I’ll Kill: ’Tis You’: Women, Pistols, and the Penitent Rake in Inchbald’s Next Door Neighbours Next Door Neighbours is in many respects a quintessential sentimental comedy. The sub-genre, introduced at the turn of the eighteenth century to help secure Britain’s reputation as a principled and civilised nation, enforced Enlightenment theories of gender by telling the story of a (commonly) aristocratic rake who is reclaimed at the close of the narrative by the play’s sentimental heroine.18 In Colley Cibber’s early drama Love’s Last Shift (1696), for instance, the debauched spendthrift, Loveless, is transformed into an affectionate husband after Amanda’s ‘piercing tears’ and ‘trembling lips’ rouse him from his ‘deepest lethargy of vice’ and encourage him to ‘wash [his] crimes in never ceasing tears of penitence’.19 Maintaining these same narrative conventions at the close of the century, Lady Wallace’s The Ton (1788) shows the reformation of Lord Raymond, a gambler and adulterer, to be exhorted by Lady Raymond’s ‘tears of anguish’, which imbue her husband with the ‘remorse, tenderness and gratitude’ needed to inspire him to ‘forswear the follies of fashion’.20 These heroines corroborate the observation made by G.J. Barker-Benfield that sentimental fiction emphasises ‘women’s role in men’s conversion’ by showing female characters to ‘mitigate

18  On the rake and his reformation in sentimental fiction see Barker-Benfield, Culture of Sensibility, 215-286; Dwyer, Virtuous Discourse, 141-167; Stanley Williams, ‘The English Sentimental Drama from Steele to Cumberland’, The Sewanee Review, vol. 33, no. 4 (October 1925), 405-426; Erin Mackie, Rakes, Highwaymen, and Pirates: The Making of the Modern Gentleman in the Eighteenth Century (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 2009), 35-70; Paul E. Parnell, ‘The Etiquette of the Sentimental Repentance Scene, 1688-96’, Papers on Language and Literature, vol. 14 (Spring 1978), 205-217; Aparna Gollapudi, Moral Reform in Comedy and Culture: 1696-1747 (Surrey: Ashgate, 2011), 1-18; Joseph Wood Krutch, Comedy and Conscience after the Restoration (New York: Columbia UP, 1949), 151-155; Misty Anderson, ‘Genealogies of Comedy’, in The Oxford Handbook of the Georgian Theatre, 1737-1832, eds. Julia Swindells and David Francis Taylor (Oxford: OUP, 2014), 365-366; and Robert D.  Hume, The Rakish Stage: Studies in English Drama, 1660-1800 (USA: Southern Illinois UP, 1983), 46-81, 138-175. 19  Colley Cibber, Love’s Last Shift: or, the Fool in Fashion (London: H. Rhodes; R. Parker; and S. Briscoe, 1696), V.ii.90, 92. 20  Lady Wallace, The Ton; or, Follies of Fashion (London: T. Hookham, 1788), V.ii.92.

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and even reform male licentiousness and rudeness’.21 Inchbald’s Next Door Neighbours is no exception to this rule: it too shows an insensitive aristocratic villain transformed into a man of feeling following an encounter with the narrative’s heroine. Departing boldly from sentimental tradition, however, Inchbald credits not a weeping heroine, but an arms-bearing heroine, with the moral regeneration of the drama’s rake.  Next Door Neighbours relates the tale of Sir George Splendorville, a depraved aristocratic libertine who is converted into a man of feeling following his attempted rape of the comedy’s heroine: Eleanor. Presented from the play’s outset as a sentimental paragon, the young and impoverished Eleanor displays filial sentiments in abundance: she recalls how she began to ‘weep with affection’ when her father thanked her for her ‘kindness to him’, and she weeps again at the thought of giving her ‘dear father liberty’ who is currently in a debtors’ prison.22 Throughout the course of the play, Eleanor is confronted by two unfeeling villains: the first of these is Blackman, Sir George’s scandalous lawyer. Blackman is sent to Eleanor’s home to demand rent from herself and her brother Henry. Despite knowing that the siblings are poor, Blackman threatens that unless he receives the rent imminently, Eleanor and Henry will be forced to leave their apartment. Eleanor responds to the threat like the typical sentimental heroine. ‘Weeping’, she pleads, Are you resolved to have no pity? You know in what a helpless situation we are—[…] Oh! Do not plunge us into more distress than we can bear; but open your heart to compassion.23

Eleanor’s display of helplessness and distress recalls the ‘trembling lips’ and ‘tears of anguish’ which commonly succeed in sentimental fiction in arousing man’s humanity.24 Yet, starkly repudiating the reformatory powers of female vulnerability, Inchbald shows Blackman to remain entirely unmoved by Eleanor’s emotional appeal. He responds that pity ‘is a thing  Barker-Benfield, Culture of Sensibility, 250, 266.  Elizabeth Inchbald, Next Door Neighbours; a comedy, in three acts (Dublin: P.  Byrne et al., 1791), I.ii.11, 12. 23  Inchbald, Next Door Neighbours, I.ii.16. 24  Cibber, Love’s Last Shift, V.ii.90; Wallace, The Ton, V.ii.92. 21 22

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[he] never’ felt ‘in [his] life’, before coldly reiterating his demand for the rent.25 Having indicated the fruitlessness of feminine sensibilities when trying to negotiate with hard-hearted villains, Inchbald has Eleanor respond very differently when confronted by the play’s primary villain: Sir George. In true rakish fashion, George lures Eleanor into his home by expressing his ostensible willingness to provide the funds needed to free her father from jail. It soon becomes clear, however, that George’s charity will come at a cost. Taken by her beauty, George locks Eleanor in a room with him and hints at his intention to sexually assault her by referring to her as Lucretia.26 The reference to Lucretia reminds audiences of the common fate of eighteenth-­century heroines when confronted by licentious villains: the sentimental heroine either softens her assaulter with tears and quivers, or, like Lucretia, she commits or contemplates self-slaughter.27 Diverging overtly from her predecessors, however, Eleanor does not weep, nor consider taking her own life. Rather, she maintains her chastity using Robinson’s prescribed method of martial masculinity. In a shocking move, Eleanor takes up Sir George’s pistol, and informs her assaulter ‘it’s not myself I’ll kill—’Tis you’. As with Robinson’s foreign lady, Eleanor’s procurement of the pistol is shown to grant her authority and control over her assaulter: temporarily exchanging feminine docility for masculine dominance, Eleanor demands that Sir George ‘dare not’ insult her again but let her return to her ‘wretched apartment’. She then ‘passes by him, presenting the pistol’, and frees herself from his home. By assuming the pistol, Eleanor reverses the direction of the original threat: the menace of sexual penetration, directed towards Eleanor, is now replaced with that of physical penetration by the pistol, directed towards Sir George. In this emasculated state of bodily imperilment, George has no choice but to submit to Eleanor’s orders, and to abandon his pursuit of her body.

 Inchbald, Next Door Neighbours, I.ii.16, 17.  Ibid., II.i.31. 27   For heroines contemplating self-slaughter in the face of sexual assault see Eliza Haywood’s Idalia: or, the Unfortunate Mistress (1723); Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa, or, the history of a young lady (1748); and Richardson’s Pamela (1740). 25 26

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Eleanor’s armed combat is shown not only to preserve her chastity, but to steer the sentimental narrative towards its conventional denouement.28 In the pistol scene’s immediate aftermath, George undergoes a transformation in character typical of the penitent rake. When Eleanor’s father, Willford, discovers the unethical conditions under which his liberty has been secured, he confronts Sir George for his baseness. Arriving at Sir George’s home moments after his encounter with the armed Eleanor, Willford finds his daughter’s assaulter stood ‘abashed, like a culprit’. Evidencing the disgrace that he feels, George cannot look Willford ‘in the face’, and instead ‘looks on the floor’. Witnessing George appearing ‘thus confounded’ and overwhelmed with ‘shame’, Willford is encouraged ‘to rejoice’ that the ‘unthinking, dissipated man’ who has indulged for so long in ‘insolence and cruelty’, is perhaps no longer ‘a hardened libertine’.29 This hint at George’s reformation is fully developed in the play’s subsequent scenes, in which George displays a moral compass and a capacity for sentiment that he had previously lacked. When George is suddenly plunged into debt, Blackman comes up with a plan to steal the half of George’s father’s estate which has been reserved for his estranged sister. Though George attempts at first to cooperate in the scheme, he soon decides that it ‘is too much’ and that he ‘can bear no more’, before refusing outright to be ‘the tool of so infamous a deceit’.30 Discovering later that the sister to whom the money is rightfully owed is in fact Eleanor, George, speaking like the orthodox man of feeling, exclaims, My sister—with the sincerest joy I call you by that name—and while I thus embrace you, I offer you a heart that beats with […] pure and tender affection.31

28  This reading builds on Angela J. Smallwood’s definition of Eleanor as a ‘1790s version of Pamela’: that is, a heroine who evades sexual assault by exhibiting masculine violence in the place of feminine swoons. Extending Smallwood’s reading, I argue that Eleanor’s violence replicates Pamela’s fragility not only in defending her chastity, but in reforming the narrative’s rake. See Smallwood, ‘Jacobites and Jacobins: Fielding’s Legacy in the in the Later Eighteenth-Century London Theatre’, in Henry Fielding (1707-1754): Novelist, Playwright, Journalist, Magistrate, ed. Claude Rawson (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2003), 301. 29  Inchbald, Next Door Neighbours, II.i.35. 30  Ibid., III.ii.56. 31  Ibid., III.ii.58.

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While George’s initial dialogue with Eleanor had characterised him as the typical aristocratic villain, the sincere and tender emotions that he now articulates strongly imply his completed conversion from ‘hardened libertine’ into respectful and benevolent man of feeling. George thereby undergoes a conversion analogous to that exhibited by Cibber’s Loveless and Wallace’s Lord Raymond: like them, he indicates the awakening of his conscience by communicating contrition. Departing from his predecessors, however, George’s transition is catalysed not by the heroine’s exhibition of feminine sensibilities, but by her martial mobilisation.32 Eleanor’s reversal of the gender dynamics commonly found in sentimental fiction, achieved by her use of the pistol, positions herself as the attacker, instead of the attacked. As such, Eleanor imposes on Sir George the precise role that he had intended for her: that of the ‘starting’ and ‘trembling’ victim.33 Placed on the receiving end of his own villainous intent, George is exhorted to reflect on the barbarity of his actions and to relinquish his ‘every folly’.34 Interpreted this way, Next Door Neighbours can be added to the trend of late eighteenth-century literature which Adriana Craciun shows to rewrite ‘the ubiquitous seduction plot by offering a counter example that rejects the equation of women’s strength with weakness’.35 As Robinson’s Letter would do so eight years later, Inchbald’s drama makes the case that women will not succeed in softening the ‘most stern and fierce of mankind’ by displaying ‘the emblems of a debilitated mind’ and responding with ‘tame submission to insult or oppression’.36 Quite contrarily, woman must set about ‘punishing the villain’ by taking ‘instantly up the pistol’, as ‘men will be profligate, as long as women uphold them in the practice of seduction’.37 That such radical re-writings of the seduction narrative should appear in works produced by two female authors who began their careers in the  Cibber, Love’s Last Shift, V.ii.90; Wallace, The Ton, V.ii.92.  Inchbald, Next Door Neighbours, II.i.31, 32. 34  Ibid., III.ii.59. 35  Adriana Craciun, Fatal Women of Romanticism (Cambridge: CUP, 2003), 52. On further disruptions to the conventional seduction narrative in 1790s Britain see Katherine Binhammer, The Seduction Narrative in Britain, 1747-1800 (Cambridge: CUP, 2009), 138-175. 36  Robinson, Letter, 85-6, 15. 37  Ibid., 22, 75. 32

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theatre is arguably no coincidence. The prevalence of sexual assault endured by eighteenth-century actresses has been well-documented in studies of Georgian theatre.38 Inchbald experienced such harassment more than once during her theatrical career. Her attempted assault by the Bristol theatre manager James Dodd is recalled in James Boaden’s Memoirs of Mrs Inchbald, in which the author relates how Inchbald hurled scolding hot water over Dodd’s face after becoming ‘terrified and vexed beyond measure’.39 Upon moving to London, Inchbald encountered further harassment by her employer Thomas Harris. Recalling the event of 1780, John Taylor notes, Mr. Harris ‘thought that he might be successful in an attack on Mrs Inchbald’, who ‘found no recourse but in seizing him by the hair, which she pulled with such violence that she forced him to desist’.40 As the desperate recourse to boiling water and hair pulling implies, Inchbald’s authentic positioning on the receiving end of sexual aggressors allowed her authoritatively to rebuff the professed nexus between female passivity and female selfdefence when it came to preserving one’s chastity. The prominent threat of sexual assault to which both Inchbald and Robinson were exposed as actresses was certainly likely to have accentuated their anger towards a manipulative system coercing women into a submissive response to male-perpetrated violence, and thereby to have fuelled their extremist visions of female retaliations to attempted sexual assault. Communicating such a vision for the stage, however, in the form of an adapted sentimental drama, Inchbald encountered unique advantages and challenges not experienced by Robinson in her composition of Letter. It is to these that I now turn. ‘I Never Liked Jesting’: Adapting and Staging the Sentimental Comedy Presenting her radical rebuttal of Enlightenment attitudes to gender in an adaptation, as opposed to an original play, Inchbald was able to shield 38  See esp. Ellen Donkin, Getting into the Act: Women Playwrights in London, 1776-1829 (New York: Routledge, 1995); and Kristina Straub, Sexual Suspects: Eighteenth-Century Players and Sexual Ideology (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1992). 39  James Boaden, Memoirs of Mrs Inchbald, including her familiar correspondence with the most distinguished persons of her time, 2 vols. (London: Richard Bentley, 1833), I:29. 40  John Taylor, Records of My Life, 2 vols. (London: Edward Bull, 1832), I:399.

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herself somewhat against personal accusations of political aberration. Inchbald’s pistol-bearing heroine is not an independent creation, but is derived from Mercier’s L’indigent, via the figure of Charlotte. Far from using her heroine as a mouthpiece for Mercier’s ideas, however, Inchbald’s refashioning of her female combatant underlies the drama’s revised standpoint on women’s capacity and need for military aggression. The modified agenda embedded in Next Door Neighbours is exemplified via the changes made by Inchbald to Charlotte’s encounters with the rent-demanding Du Noir, equivalent of Inchbald’s Blackman, and the sexually aggressive De Lys, model for Inchbald’s Sir George. In L’indigent, Charlotte’s reaction to Du Noir’s demand for her unpaid rent matches that of Eleanor’s. Giving way to sentimental protestation, Charlotte begs Du Noir to ‘see [her] tears’ and ‘yield to the emotions of gentle pity’. While Blackman, as we have seen, upholds his obduracy in the face of this plea, Du Noir conversely shows Charlotte’s display of helplessness to succeed in assuaging his temper. Moved by the sight of the weeping heroine, Du Noir claims that he ‘can feel [his] heart softening’ and is encouraged to ‘see what [he] can do’ to allay Charlotte’s plight.41 Mercier thereby supports contemporary theories of male amelioration which Inchbald outrightly refutes: while Du Noir’s charcterisation enforces the efficacy of feminine weakness in mollifying male severity, Inchbald revises Blackman’s conduct so as to rebuff the conjecture entirely. The plays’ juxtaposing commentaries on gender are illustrated further in the parallel seduction scenes. Acknowledging De Lys’ intention to sexually assault her, Charlotte, like Eleanor, looks to defend herself with the use of the villain’s weapon. Yet her conduct while doing so differs greatly to that of her successor’s. Mercier’s stage direction reads: Charlotte runs to the chair where the double-barrelled gun is, and takes it up. […] She runs to the door and beats against it with the gun, crying out Open the door—Open the door. The gun goes off, and then drops from her hands.42

The scene depicts women’s armed combat as unpleasant, unnatural, and almost calamitous. While armed with the gun, Charlotte lacks the composure and physical authority portrayed by Inchbald’s Eleanor. Her frantic behaviour and her act of dropping the gun imply the mental and physical 41  All references to Mercier’s source text are taken from the the anonymous English translation The Distressed Family: a drama in four acts (London: C.  Elliot and T.  Kay, 1787). I.iii.27. 42   Mercier, The Distressed Family, II.v.52.

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debility of women who attempt martial agency and signal the likely perils to result from women’s reluctant and desperate use of firearms. While Eleanor demonstrates full mastery of the pistol, undauntedly pointing it at Sir George on two occasions to steer him away from her exit, and calmly responding to his warning that the pistol ‘is charged’ and ‘may go off’ with the blunt and menacing reply ‘I mean it to go off’, Charlotte has neither the ability nor the desire effectively to control or operate the gun.43 Lacking the inclination to use the weapon for its intended purpose, Charlotte accidentally fires the gun while banging it against the door, and narrowly misses De Lys’ ear. While her unwillingness to activate the gun indicates the perceived incongruity between women’s pacifistic tendencies and the requirements of the armed combatant, Charlotte’s unintended firing of the gun hints at the lethal potential of women’s inability to control firearms: as De Lys makes plain in the scene that follows, the bullet that ‘just missed [him]’ could have gone anywhere.44 As well as being chaotic and traumatic, Charlotte’s military mobilisation is ultimately futile. Mercier provides no indication that Charlotte’s pistol-bearing antics are even partially responsible for De Lys’ subsequent reform. Unlike Sir George, De Lys maintains his ‘avaricious and contemptible sentiments’ long after the pistol scene. He is furious when he discovers Charlotte to be his sister as he is desperate to retain all of his father’s estate. His villainy finally reaches its conclusion in the drama’s closing scene, when De Lys is encouraged by a notary to ‘Forget the luxury, the splendour, the dissipation, that corrupted you, and give yourself up to the feelings of nature’. Only in response to this speech from a figure of legal authority does De Lys at last exhibit his ‘genuine and tenderest emotions’, learn to love his estranged family, and agree to share his father’s inheritance with them.45 As the juxtaposing narratives suggest, Mercier’s L’indigent grants Inchbald a fertile narrative on which to inscribe progressive ideologies, which, while facilitated by the content of the source text, diverge entirely from its inferences. Denying feminine sensibilities any role in reclaiming the rake, stripping Eleanor of the debilitating emotions that jeopardise Charlotte’s handling of the gun, and reversing the villain’s imperviousness to the heroine’s armed attack, Inchbald devises a

 Inchbald, Next Door Neighbours, II.i.32.  Mercier, The Distressed Family, II.vi.53. 45  Ibid., IV.iv.94. 43 44

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hypothesis around women’s martial combat and male reform which is authentically her own. Adapting the script for the theatre, however, Inchbald lacked full authority over the realisation of the drama’s revised sexual politics when exhibited on stage. A comparison of Inchbald’s licensing manuscript with the published play  text of Next Door Neighbours signals the tussle for authorial control into which the dramatist necessarily entered when writing for the theatre. Moody has demonstrated the power held by John Larpent, the Chief Examiner of Plays, in allaying the comedy’s tendentious claims regarding sex and gender, by spotlighting Larpent’s omission of lines originally spoken by Bluntly which had berated the judicial system’s inadequate treatment of female victims of sexual assault.46 Beyond the textual interventions of the Examiner, a comparative analysis of the licensing text and the performed play script indicates moreover the extent to which the playwright’s dominion over dramatic meaning is inevitably compromised by the process of theatrical embodiment. While Eleanor’s martial conduct passed unscathed through the hands of John Larpent, the published play text reveals a detail added in performance which bears upon the gendered inferences of Act 2 scene 2, serving curiously to re-align the sexual politics of Next Door Neighbours and L’indigent. In Mercier’s source text, Charlotte’s occupation of her assaulter’s gun does not succeed in liberating her from the villain’s apartment. Rather, her escape occurs only after Felix, the counterpart to Inchbald’s humane servant, Bluntly, hears her scream and opens the door for her escape.47 Inchbald, as we have seen, allowed Eleanor to navigate her own exit from the chamber using martial authority. And yet, reviews of the Haymarket performance grant Bluntly as much credit as that due to Felix in determining the heroine’s safety: the General Evening Post described how Sir George’s ‘passion for Eleanor’ is ‘disappointed by the interference of Bluntly’ and The World similarly explained that Eleanor’s chastity ‘is saved by [Bluntly’s] virtue’.48 The judgements expressed in these reviews reflect the elongation, in the performed version of Next Door Neighbours, of a stage direction immediately preceding Eleanor’s occupation of Sir George’s pistol. In the manuscript copy of Next Door Neighbours, Bluntly’s exit from the chamber in 46  See Moody, ‘Inchbald, Holcroft and the Censorship of Jacobin Theatre’, in Women’s Romantic Theatre, eds. Crisafullli and Elam, 119-214. 47   Mercier, The Distressed Family, II.vi.52. 48  General Evening Post, 9-12 July 1791; World, 11 July 1791.

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which Sir George attempts Eleanor’s seduction is related in a stage direction which reads: ‘Bluntly […] after looking at Eleanor retires’.49 In the printed play  text, the instruction is lengthened, so as to explain: ‘Bluntly looks at Eleanor aside, and points to the pistol, then bows humbly, and retires’.50 While inconsequential in terms of plot, reviews of the scene corroborate the impact of this appendage in establishing Bluntly as Eleanor’s protector, thereby exposing the extent to which Inchbald’s insistence on women’s capacity for autonomous self-defence is undermined on stage. By having Bluntly point to the pistol, Eleanor is denied full agency over her military actions. Her armed attack on Sir George is no longer prompted by her own intuition, but rather by Bluntly’s instruction. In adding this detail, Eleanor is re-aligned with Charlotte as an imperilled heroine in need of assistance from a heroic male figure. The scene consequently reinforces ideas of female dependence: if not physical, then mental. While Eleanor maintains her differentiation from the debilitated Charlotte in her capability to act like a man, she is denied the right to think like one. As such, the implied incongruity between female inclinations and military exertions communicated in the French source text is upheld on the British stage. The lengthening of stage directions from manuscript to publication was by no means an uncommon practice. Unlike modifications made by Larpent, the process tended not to signal a conflict of interest between any two parties, but to reflect—as opposed to dictate—the acting of events on stage. With the case at hand, nonetheless, clear tension is detectable between the ideological impact of the formerly unscripted action, and the revised gendered inferences that Inchbald textually imprinted onto Mercier’s source text, and espoused elsewhere in her literary criticism. In her essay produced for The Artist in 1807, Inchbald expressed hostility towards the conventional damsel in distress narrative, to which L’indigent adheres, when humorously advising aspiring novelists that when the ‘heroine is in danger of being drowned, burnt, or [having] her neck broken by the breaking of an axle-tree’, it is more desirable ‘to suffer her to be rescued’ by ‘the sagacity of a dog, a fox, a monkey, or a hawk’, than it is a man.51 While the licensing copy of Next Door Neighbours complies with  MS copy of Next Door Neighbours. BL Microfiche 253/670. II.i.42.  Inchbald, Next Door Neighbours, II.i.31. 51  Elizabeth Inchbald, ‘Letter to The Artist’, in The Artist, no. 14 Saturday, 13 June 1807. Reprinted in Inchbald, Nature and Art (1796), ed. Shawn Lisa Maurer (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview, 2005), Appendix A: 161–6, 162. 49 50

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this advice, the preference is contradicted in the play’s performance, on account of the intervention granted to Bluntly. Such disharmony between theory and practice seems to beckon towards the playwright’s mercy at the hands of her theatrical collaborators when attempting to manifest on stage ideas embedded in the script. Inchbald herself acknowledged the ‘despotic government’ under which the ‘dramatic writer exists’, and cited, alongside the Examiner, ‘the degree of dependence’ that the playwright ‘has on his actors’ as a contributing factor to the playwright’s subjugation.52 Performers’ unique interpretations of the roles they were assigned could inevitably impact the play’s performed meaning. Especially in instances where stage directions were scant, performers had freedom to embellish their prescribed actions with gestures and movements that they considered best fit. Performing Bluntly in March 1791, the actor John Bannister Junior, a star performer at Haymarket, may well have seized the opportunity to play to his comic strengths by pointing pantomimically at the pistol within teasingly close proximity to an oblivious Sir George, thus inverting, potentially unwittingly, the scripted portrayal of Eleanor’s martial autonomy.53 Whether the reduction of Eleanor’s martial agency was in fact inadvertent, however, is open to debate. It was of course not just performers that held leverage over the play’s embodied meaning. Anticipating Inchbald’s ‘despotic government’ metaphor, in 1767 playwright and actor Charles Macklin bemoaned that ‘managers of theatres […] in many things resemble the managers of states; particularly in matters relative to dominion’.54 The active role played by George Colman and his father before him in adjusting performances for exhibition at the Haymarket Theatre is recurrently remarked upon in dedications and prefaces published in the years surrounding the handover of the theatre’s management from father to

 Inchbald ‘Letter to The Artist’, 166.  On John Bannister’s comic talents see Philip Highfill et  al. (eds.), A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers, and other Stage Personnel, 16 vols (USA: Southern Illinois UP, 1993), I:267-273. 54  Letter from Charles Macklin to George Colman the elder, August 25, 1767. Reproduced in Richard Brinsley Peake, Memoirs of the Colman Family, 2 vols (London: Richard Bentley, 1841), II: 269. 52 53

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son.55 The latter’s consideration of the vital role the manager ought to play in dictating the drama’s embodiment on stage is recalled in the preface to his drama The Iron Chest (DL; 1796), in which Colman lays the blame for his drama’s unsuccessful debut at Drury Lane squarely at the feet of the acting manager, John Philip Kemble. Having declared it common knowledge ‘to those conversant with the business of the stage, that no perfect judgement can be formed’ of ‘a play’ until the process of rehearsal, Colman expresses his outrage that, in his own absence due to illness, Kemble attended just a handful of last-minute rehearsals prior to declaring The Iron Chest ready for performance.56 Colman bewails that only ‘two days, or three, I forget which, previous to the public representation, up rose King Kemble’ to distribute his ‘directions among his subjects’. One such direction, for the ‘transposition of two of the most material scenes in the second act’, was received by Colman via a note ‘from the prompter, written by the manager’s orders, three hours only before the first representation of the play’.57 Colman’s preface signals the crucial input expected as a dramatist from the manager of the playhouse exhibiting his work. Putting these expectations into practice in his own role as manager, Colman is certainly likely to have proposed directions to Inchbald, as Kemble did Colman—albeit, in a timely manner—for the staging of Next Door Neighbours. Colman’s eye for theatrical enhancement, as well as that of his father’s, is attested by the thanks both managers received from dramatists crediting them with their plays’ ‘favourable reception[s]’ at the Haymarket

55  On the handover, dictated by Colman the elders’ illness, see Peake, Memoirs, II:194-196 and 215-216. On prefaces and dedications commenting on the manager’s attentiveness and candour when preparing plays for performance at Haymarket see Mariana Starke’s ‘Preface’ to The Sword of Peace: or, a Voyage of Love; a comedy (Dublin: H. Chamberlaine et al., 1789), v; Walley Chamberlain Oulton’s ‘Dedication’ in All in Good Humour. A dramatic piece, in one act (London: J.  Debrett, 1792); and Francis Godolphin Waldron’s ‘Dedication’, in Heigho for a Husband! A Comedy (London: T. Arrowsmith, 1794), v. 56  George Colman, ‘Preface’ to The Iron Chest; a play, in three acts (Dublin: Thomas Burnside, 1796), vii. 57  Colman, The Iron Chest, viii. It is not only Kemble’s poor management of the play that Colman condemns in his preface. Kemble’s acting on the opening night was also so poor that, according to Colman, the ‘spectators, who gaped with expectation at his first appearance, yawned with lassitude before his first exit’. See xiii. For full account of Kemble’s acting see xiii-xvi.

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Theatre.58 Given the formerly unscripted ideological nuances around women and war added to the performance of Next Door Neighbours, however, it is not far-fetched to assume that Colman’s instructions to Inchbald and her cast were motivated as much so by political biases as they were theatrical success.59 Colman’s traditional attitudes to gender are laid bare in his letter to Inchbald regarding her compilation of ‘Remarks’ for publication in The British Theatre; or, a Collection of Plays (1808). Painting the unnatural warlike woman as the deplorable epitome of gender transgression, Colman insultingly compares Inchbald to a woman ‘wield[ing] a battle axe’ for deigning to put her ‘feminine fingers’ to the ‘rough task’ of theatre criticism.60 Considering Colman’s hostility to the crossing of gendered boundaries, and the reputation he would subsequently earn, in his role as Examiner of Plays, as a particularly severe censor of radically-tinged content, the likelihood that the gesture performed by Bluntly in Act 2 scene 2 was impelled, at least in part, by social as opposed to theatrical preoccupations, is not to be discounted.61 If the art of dramatic adaptation thereby provided Inchbald a covert means by which she could textually overwrite patriarchal attitudes embedded in foreign play scripts, the collaborative process of theatrical production disabled a one-sided re-­envisioning of the embodied drama. Whether adventitious or intentional, the mitigation of Eleanor’s martial agency suggests the intricate tugs of war faced by the dramatist when looking to preserve her play’s textual meaning in the context of performance. Nevertheless, the process of embodiment was not wholly one-sided in its impact on the play’s sexual politics. In fact, decisions regarding cast are significant in encouraging audiences to respond with serious contemplation to commentaries on gender transmitted in a play which is fashioned as a ‘comedy’. On the one hand, the sentimental comedy provided a safer and more 58  See Waldron, All in Good Humour, v; and Walley Chamberlain Oulton, As it Should Be: a Dramatic Entertainment (London: W. Lowndes, 1789), 6. 59  See my discussion of Joseph George Holman’s The Red-Cross Knights (Haymarket; 1799) in Chap. 5 for evidence of similar revisions made to a performance staged under Colman’s management. 60  Inchbald reproduced Colman’s derision of her role as theatre critic as a preface to her ‘Remarks’ on Colman’s The Heir at Law, printed in The British Theatre; or a Collection of Plays, 25 vols (London: Longman, 1808), XXI: i-ix. For the quoted passages see ii. 61  Colman became Chief Examiner of Plays in 1824. On his conduct in this role see David Worrall, Theatric Revolution: Drama, Censorship, and Romantic Period Subcultures, 1773-1832 (Oxford: OUP, 2006), 103-132. For examples of Colman’s censorship see BL Add MS 53702, Lord Chamberlain’s Office Day Books, 1824-1852.

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appropriate vehicle for the exhibition of a pistol-wielding heroine than a tragedy would have done. First, in adherence with the dictates of comic closure, Eleanor challenges gendered mores only fleetingly, before her sentimental characterisation is wholly renewed, and she is mandatorily re-­ assimilated into the traditional marriage plot at the close of the play.62 While her fate sits comfortably within the confines of the comic narrative, her choice of weapon also bears a greater aptness for comedy than it does tragedy. The dagger-brandishing heroine, whose synonymity with tragic productions is reflected in William Beeches’ painting Mrs Siddons with the emblems of tragedy (1793), carried with her an air of gravitas and respectability.63 Meanwhile, the pistol-wielding heroine, tinged with troublingly and somewhat amusingly phallic implications, would likely have fallen short of meeting the dignified standards to which the tragedy was held.64 And yet, despite such specificities of genre, Next Door Neighbours’ status as a sentimental comedy by no means negates its ideological potency. The sentimental comedy differed substantially from the contemporary laughing comedy in terms of its content and reception. While the former aimed at the pure excitement of mirth through the depiction of ludicrous and improbable frolics, the latter, commonly centred on the trope of virtue in distress, needed to be ‘tinged with the solemnity of the mournful muse’ if it was to fulfil its intended moralising function.65 Contrasting with 62  The narrative concludes with Eleanor’s proposed marriage to Henry (who is not, in fact, her brother). On gender subversiveness and comic closure see Garnai, Revolutionary Imaginings, 158-169; and Anderson, Female Playwrights, 45-72, 204. 63  Sir William Beeches’ Mrs Siddons with the emblems of tragedy (1793) typifies tragic conventions by picturing the British tragedienne par excellence, Sarah Siddons, stood before the backdrop of a gloomy forest, raising the tragic mask to her face, and clutching a dagger that she looks poised to use. This image is held at the NPG: see https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portraitExtended/mw05799/Sarah-Siddons-ne-Kemble-Mrs-Siddonswith-the-Emblems-of-Tragedy 64  As we will see in Chap. 6, the pistol-bearing heroine makes a resurgence in the British melodrama, which similarly lacks the tragedy’s gravitas and respectability. 65  Public Advertiser, 11 July 1791. On contrasting models of eighteenth-century comedy see Oliver Goldsmith, ‘An Essay on the Theatre; or a Comparison between laughing and sentimental comedy’, in The Westminster Magazine 1.1 (January 1773), 4-6. See also Robert D. Hume, ‘Goldsmith and Sheridan and the Supposed Revolution of “Laughing” against “Sentimental” Comedy’, in Studies in Change and Revolution: Aspects of English Intellectual History, 1640-1800, ed. Paul J. Korshin (Yorkshire: The Scholar Press, 1972), 237-276; and Lisa A.  Freeman, ‘The social life of eighteenth-century comedy’, in The Cambridge Companion to British Theatre, 1730-1830, eds. Jane Moody and Daniel O’Quinn (Cambridge: CUP, 2007), 73-86.

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the play’s more whimsical stock figures, whose names alone indicate their status as theatrical caricatures (‘Splendorville’, ‘Blackman’, ‘Bluntly’), Eleanor is aligned unequivocally, both in text and in performance, with the drama’s sober intent. Played by Mrs. Stephen Kemble (nee Elizabeth Satchell), an actress renowned for ‘exquisitely pathetic’ performances, Eleanor was heralded in reviews for being ‘pathetically interesting’ and for exhibiting ‘virtues and goodness’ that ‘were so powerfully displayed’ that audiences placed her ‘pre-eminently in the foreground of the picture’.66 Unlike the outrageously comic cross-dressed female soldiers then that graced the contemporary farce, Eleanor’s actions could not be dismissed as ideologically void on account of being preposterous. This point is foregrounded within the script itself: when George, shocked at Eleanor’s occupation of the pistol, demands of his confronter ‘no jesting—I never liked jesting in my life’, Eleanor responds, ‘nor I—but [I] am always serious’.67 The solemnity with which Eleanor enacts her warfare deflates the scene of the merriment detectable elsewhere in the narrative and forces audiences into thoughtful ruminations on the necessity of Eleanor’s armed defence. Performed both by a heroine, and an actress who inspired sympathy rather than laughter, Eleanor’s martial conduct is freighted with a degree of earnestness that prohibits it from being brushed aside as mere jest. As such, despite the compromises made to the narrative’s depiction of gender when exhibited on stage, the drama’s overarching criticism of enforced sexual mores remains palpable and persuasive.

‘An Instrument of Death to Defend Herself’: Women’s Martial Rights and the Turn from Stage to Page in The Massacre Next Door Neighbours, as we have seen, makes a case for the necessity of martial combat in enabling women to defend themselves against sexual aggressors within the confines of the domestic sphere. In her tragedy The Massacre, Inchbald shifts her perspective on women’s military mobilisation from the context of the home to that of the battlefield, and thus ventures fully into the male realms of public and political discourse. 66  James Boaden, ‘Memoirs of Mrs. Elizabeth Kemble’, in The General Magazine and Impartial Review (August 1789), 337; Public Advertiser, 11 July 1791; Diary, or Woodfall’s Register, 11 July 1791. 67  Inchbald, Next Door Neighbours, II.i.32.

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Appearing fleetingly in print in Autumn 1792, and dramatising the violent and bloody spectacle of the St Bartholomew massacre, The Massacre has been interpreted both by Inchbald’s contemporaries and Romantic theatre scholars as a reaction to the September Massacres of 1792, suppressed from the stage on account of its stark political resonances.68 A letter written by George Colman attests however that Inchbald’s completion of her script predated the September Massacres by over six months.69 Re-evaluating the play’s historical provenance, as well as its status as a closet drama, my interpretation of The Massacre nuances scholarly understanding of the tragedy’s content and form. Developing existing discussions of the drama’s emphasis on female vulnerability, I propose that women’s inaccessibility to weaponry is not an incidental preoccupation within The Massacre but constitutes its chief polemical intent. Extending this logic, I surmise that the narrative’s communication in print furnished it with an emotional poignancy, vital to its intended political impact, that it could not have achieved in the theatre.70 ‘The Mere de Famille’: Motherhood, Female Militancy, and Pauline Léon’s Petition Inchbald’s close connections with London’s circle of radical thinkers, whose members both sympathised with and interacted with the Friends of Liberty in France, provided her with a constant source of information

68  See Nielsen, ‘A Tragic Farce’, 279-280; Terrence Allan Hoagwood, ‘Elizabeth Inchbald, Joanna Baillie, and Revolutionary Representation in the Romantic Period’, in Rebellious Hearts: British Women Writers and the French Revolution, eds. Adriana Craciun and Kari E. Lokke (New York: State University of New York Press, 2001), 303; Annabel Jenkins, I’ll Tell You What: The Life of Elizabeth Inchbald (Lexington: UP of Kentucky, 2003), 138; and George C. Grinnell, ‘Timely Responses: Violence and Immediacy in Inchbald’s The Massacre’, European Romantic Review, vol. 24, no. 6 (October 2013), 646. 69  See letter from George Colman to Elizabeth Inchbald, 7 February 1792. Forster collection. National Art Library. Victoria and Albert Museum. MS 116. 70  On female vulnerability in The Massacre see Daniel O’Quinn, ‘Elizabeth Inchbald’s The Massacre: Tragedy, Violence, and the network of political fantasy’, in British Women Playwrights around 1800 (June 1999) [22 February 2013]; Garnai, Revolutionary Imaginings, 147-177; Nielsen, ‘A Tragic Farce’, 275-288; and Eva Lippold, “‘Liberty joined with Peace and Charity”: Elizabeth Inchbald and a Woman’s Place in the Revolution’, Romance, Revolution, Reform, issue 3 (Jan. 2021), 57-77.

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regarding the progression of revolutionary activity.71 Privy to the transnational dialogues and exchanges of London’s radical network, it is not unlikely that Inchbald was familiar with the workings of the Cordeliers Club: a French revolutionary group which promoted the founding of a Republic based on universal suffrage.72 By extension, Inchbald’s awareness, while completing The Massacre, of a petition for women’s martial rights, offered to the National Assembly by club member Pauline Léon, is a strong possibility.73 Pauline Léon was a French radical whose concern with women’s political activism led her to become president of the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women: an extremely militant women’s club, formed in France in 1793.74 Engaging in political activism prior to her presidential role, Léon’s desire to grant women not only a political voice, but to augment sexual parity in physical terms, too, was forcibly 71  On Inchbald’s radical connections see William Godwin: His Friends and Contemporaries, 2 vols (London: Henry S. King & co., 1876) 59-76; Gary Kelly, The Jacobin Novel, 1780-1805 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976), 1-19; Jenkins, I’ll Tell You What, 518-519; and Boaden, Memoirs of Mrs Inchbald, I:330. Alongside the strong relationship Inchbald would later form with Godwin, she was in regular contact in 1791 with British radical Thomas Holcroft, who was assisting her with the completion of her novel A Simple Story (1791). Holcroft’s ties to France included Nicholas de Bonneville, subsequent spokesman for the revolutionary club the Cercle Social. See William Hazlitt ed., Memoirs of the Late Thomas Holcroft, 3 vols (London: Longham, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, 1816), II:38-40, 55. See also Gary Kelly, ‘Holcroft, Thomas (1745–1809)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: OUP, 2004) [2 July 2017]. On the transfer of knowledge from France to Britain and Britain to France see also David V. Erdman, Commerce des Lumières: John Oswald and the British in Paris, 1790-1793 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1986), 109-114, 121-122. 72  On the Cordeliers club see Lucy Moore, Liberty: The Lives and Times of Six Women in Revolutionary France (London: Harper Perennial, 2007), 27-45, 223-241. 73  On Léon and French women’s clubs see Harriet B. Applewhite and Darlene G. Levy, ‘Women and militant citizenship in revolutionary Paris’, in Rebel Daughters: Women and the French Revolution, eds. Sara E. Melzer and Leslie W. Rabine (New York: OUP, 1992), 88; Applewhite and Levy, ‘Women, radicalization and the fall of the French Monarchy’, in Women and Politics in the Age of Democratic Revolution, eds. Applewhite and Levy (USA: University of Michigan Press, 1993), 81-108; James F.  McMillan, France and Women, 1789-1914: Gender, Society and Politics (London: Routledge, 2000), 20; Christine Fauré, Democracy without Women: Feminism and the Rise of Liberal Individualism in France, trans. Claudia Gorbman and John Berks (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1991), 108-110; and Dominique Godineau, The Women of Paris and their French Revolution, trans. Katherine Streip (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 108-120. 74  On the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women see Moore, Liberty, 27-45, 223-241.

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stated in her protest for women’s right to bear arms, composed around the time that Inchbald was working on The Massacre.75 The resonances between Léon’s petition and the ideologies detectable in The Massacre derive largely from Léon’s defiance of the allegedly discordant relationship between the female warrior and the devoted mother. In 1793 French radical Pierre Chaumette declared in response to the rise of women’s engagement in military activity: As much as we venerate the mere de famille who puts her joy and glory in raising and caring for her children, […] we must despise and spit on the woman […] who dons the masculine role and makes the disgusting exchange of the charms given by nature for a pike.76

Within the revolutionary context, Chaumette’s statement carries clear ideological weight. Throughout the 1790s, authors as politically diverse as British radical Mary Wollstonecraft, political conservative Hannah More, and Chaumette’s radical compatriot Louis Prudhomme, were each insisting that the female patriot ought not to turn her ‘distaff into a musket’ or to emulate the ‘disgusting and unnatural’ characteristics flaunted by ‘female warriors’. Rather, women must devote themselves to ‘the education of [their] children’, upon whom ‘the principles of the whole rising generation’ depend.77 With women’s ‘private exertions’ considered requisite ‘to the future happiness’ of the nation, the woman who imitates the ‘warlike Thalestris’ in taking up ‘the sword’—or, in Chaumette’s example, 75  There has been some confusion around whether the petition was presented in March of ’91 or ’92. I take authority from Harriet B. Applewhite, Darlene G. Levy and Mary Durham Johnson; and Lisa L. Moore, Joanna Brooks, and Caroline Wigginton, who date the petition as 6 March 1791 in their respective publications Women in Revolutionary Paris, 1789-1795: Selected Documents translated with notes and commentary (USA: Illini Books, 1980), 71-72; and Transatlantic Feminisms in the Age of Revolutions (Oxford: OUP, 2012), 242-244. Whether formally presented in ’91 or ’92, the likelihood of Inchbald’s familiarity with Léon and her views while composing The Massacre does not appear unlikely. Léon was not the only woman to pioneer women’s martial rights in revolutionary France; the Jacobin Théroigne de Méricourt demanded similar rights for women in 1792. On Méricourt’s protest see Elisabeth Roudinesco, Madness and Revolution: The Lives and Legends of Théroigne de Méricourt, trans. Martin Thom (London: Verso, 1991), 92-95, 109. 76  Pierre Chaumette, 1793, trans. and cited in Candice Proctor, Women, Equality, and the French Revolution (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990), 165. 77  Mary Wollstonecraft A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (London: J. Johnson, 1792), 28; Hannah More, Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (1799), in The Works of Hannah More, 4 vols (G. Graisbery, Chapel Street, 1803), IV: 3, 32, 33.

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the ‘pike’—was considered culpable of ‘domestic neglect’ which was synonymous with the ‘ruin of [the] country’.78 Supporting Enlightenment theories of progress, popular British narratives went as far as to suggest that the maternal ideal living through times of conflict both should not and need not bear arms, as her familial affections were enough, remarkably, to defend her against entire armies of men. In his drama The Battle of Hexham (Haymarket; 1789), Colman shows a group of male soldiers left unable to continue fighting after being ‘softened at the scene, and dulled with pity’ by the sight of their enemy, Queen Margaret, hugging and kissing her baby son.79 Awakening the soldiers’ compassion through her display of motherly love, Margaret pacifies her enemies and deters them from their military task. Rendering feminine virtues capable of stopping war in its tracks, Colman presents weaponry as a redundant acquisition for the maternal ideal looking to protect herself against hostile male troops. The argument that allowing woman to bear arms would detract from her familial sentiments, which, when maintained, offered her a form of self-defence against male violence which made weapons unnecessary, is challenged in Léon’s petition. Aware of the animosities she would incite if seeming to propose that women ought to substitute their domestic responsibilities for military exertions, Léon does not deny that a woman’s first obligation should be to her family. Yet she exposes the lack of logic governing the notion that women can persist with their maternal and domestic duties, amidst lawless and savage war, without the aid of physical armoury. She exclaims: Patriotic women come before you to claim the right which any individual has to defend his life and liberty. […] Yes, Gentlemen, we need arms, and we come to ask your permission to procure them. […] Do not believe, however, that our plan is to abandon the care of our families and home, always dear to our hearts, to run to meet the enemy. No, Gentlemen, we wish only 78  More, Strictures, in The Works of Hannah More, IV: 33, 4, 33. On Prudhomme’s promotion of this model of motherhood see Lynn Hunt, The Family Romance of the French Revolution (California: Routledge, 1992), 122; and McMillan, France and Women, 28-29. On the new importance placed on motherhood in 1790s patriotic discourse see Harriet Guest, Small Change: Women, Learning, Patriotism, 1750-1810 (London: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 155-219; Rendall, Origins, 33-72; and Anne K. Mellor, Mothers of the Nation: Women’s Political Writing in England, 1780-1830 (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2000), 11-12. 79  George Colman, The Battle of Hexham, a comedy. In three acts (Dublin: P. Byrne, 1790), I.iv.19.

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to defend ourselves the same as you. You cannot refuse us, and society cannot deny the right nature gives us, unless you pretend the Declaration of Rights does not apply to women, and that they should let their throats be cut like lambs, without the right to defend themselves. For can you believe the tyrants would spare us?80

For Léon, access to weaponry is integral to women’s fulfilment of their maternal obligations, as the (apparently) impenetrable shield of feminine sensibility loses all its power in the context of revolutionary violence. Léon requests not that women leave the home in favour of the battlefield and go out of their way to fight; rather, if the enemy is brought to the woman, and threatens herself and her family, she should be given the right to defend herself with the same reliable shield that is granted to men. Without the assistance of such weaponry, Léon insists, women are rendered entirely vulnerable to having their ‘throats cut like lambs’, as the barbarous tyrant, who does not discriminate by sex, will not be inclined to ‘spare [them]’. Léon’s supposition reverberates loudly in The Massacre. Through her textual appropriation of Mercier’s source text, Inchbald dramatises plainly Léon’s suggestion that in a nation of warring, ungallant men, women’s ability to commit themselves to the ‘care of [their] families and home’ goes hand in hand with their right to bear arms. ‘Feminine Virtues Violated’: Women and Weaponry in The Massacre and Jean Hennuyer Like Inchbald’s adaptation, Mercier’s Jean Hennuyer is set during the St Bartholomew massacre. Arsenne, the drama’s Protestant hero, manages to escape being slaughtered by the political mob which rages through Paris, yet his wife’s mother and uncle are not so fortunate. Having seen his relatives killed, Arsenne demands of his company: ‘to arms, to arms! […] Let us sell our blood most dearly’. Though Arsenne had directed the instruction to his male accomplices, when his wife Laura decides that she too must arm herself against the enemies, and show herself ‘equal to their furies’, her decision is accepted without reproach, and the tragedy

80  Pauline Léon, ‘Addresse individuelle à l’Assemblée Nationale par des citoyennes de la capitale, le 6 Mars, 1791’, trans. and reproduced in Applewhite, Levy and Durham Johnson (eds.), Women in Revolutionary Paris, 72-73.

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proceeds to a somewhat optimistic conclusion.81 In the play’s final scene, Jean Hennuyer puts a stop to the war when delivering a speech which promotes the Christian virtue of charity over violence.82 The drama subsequently closes with the hopeful implication that future generations shall go on to live by Hennuyer’s pacifistic ethics. Adhering to her role as mother of the nation, Laura, having heard Hennuyer’s speech, declares, I will teach our children his name after that of God: this dear name, forever engraved in our hearts, shall be blessed in their mouths every day of their lives.83

Laura’s children, symbolic of France’s future inhabitants, look set to share the Christian principles endorsed by Hennuyer. The drama therefore closes with the suggestion that the days of massacres and civil wars are over, and that France can look forward to a future of social tranquillity. The narrative events of Inchbald’s The Massacre unfold with vital distinctions. The heroine of Inchbald’s tragedy is Madame Tricastin, a woman whose ‘heart swells’ with love for her husband and who is ‘a tender mother to [her] children’.84 Exposing the vulnerability of women like Madam Tricastin when exposed to political violence, the heroine’s husband, Eusebe, upon returning from the massacre, informs his company that the blood on his clothes ‘came from the veins’ of his wife’s mother, who he had ‘tried in vain to defend’. He goes on to describe how he ‘saw poor females’ try ‘to ward off that last fatal blow, then sink beneath it’.85 Eusebe himself is ‘not wounded’, and when asked how he managed to protect himself against the enemy who killed his mother-in-law, he responds that ‘my sword in my hand, reeking with blood’ meant that ‘I passed unmolested’.86 Despite knowing his sword to have saved him from the fate received by his mother-in-law, when it is suggested that Eusebe give his wife ‘an instrument of death to defend herself’, Eusebe retorts, ‘No—by 81  All references to Mercier’s tragedy are taken from the anonymous English translation Jean Hennuyer, Bishop of Lizieux: or, the massacre of St. Bartholomew (London: S. Leacroft, 1773). II.iv.39. 82  Mercier, Jean Hennuyer, III.iii.64. 83  Ibid., III.ix.77. 84  Elizabeth Inchbald, The Massacre: taken from the French. A tragedy of three acts in prose (London: G.G.J. and J. Robinson, 1792), I.i.7. 85  Inchbald, Massacre, I.i.8, 9. 86  Ibid., I.i.8.

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heaven, so sacred do I hold the delicacy of her sex, that could she with a breath lay all our enemies dead, I would not have her feminine virtues violated by the act’.87 Eusebe’s decision marks the crucial chasm between the French and British narratives. While Laura’s request to arm herself is accepted without debate, and both she and her children remain alive and unharmed in the drama’s final scene, The Massacre illustrates the tragic results to ensue when women are denied the martial agency exercised by men. In the closing scene of The Massacre, the dead bodies of Madame Tricastin and her children are brought into view. The bearer of the corpses exclaims, My soldiers, bear a lovely matron butchered, with her two children by her side. […] The eldest, to the last, she held fast by the hand—the youngest she pressed violently to her bosom, and struggling to preserve, received the murderers blow through its breast, to her own.88

This description of Madame Tricastin’s loyalty to her children even when placed in the midst of terror fashions her explicitly in the image of the maternal ideal lauded by reformists and loyalists alike. Her display of familial love is reminiscent of that exhibited by Margaret in Colman’s The Battle of Hexham. The difference is that while Margaret’s opponents were moved by her maternal affections, and consequently left unable to harm her, Madame Tricastin’s enemies prove themselves entirely impervious to her display of ‘feminine virtues’. Showing Madame Tricastin’s killers to lack the chivalric principles upon which the softening influence of femininity crucially depends,  Inchbald  challenges the system of gallantry in which Eusebe puts his faith, by suggesting that the ‘delicacy of [the female] sex’, supposed to guarantee women’s safety, is costing women their lives.89 The murders of Madame Tricastin and her children bluntly strip The Massacre of the optimism that concludes Jean Hennuyer. In The Massacre’s denouement, Glandeve replicates the speech delivered by Hennuyer when

 Ibid., II.i.14-15.  Ibid., III.ii.30. 89  On similar challenges to the system of gallantry presented in earlier works see Runge, ‘Beauty and Gallantry’, 55-56. On The Massacre and chivalry see also Nielsen, Women Warriors, 117. 87 88

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espousing ‘peace and charity’ over bloodshed.90 Unlike Hennuyer’s address however, Glandeve’s words lack force, as they look set to be forgotten. While Laura had promised to pass down Hennuyer’s teachings to her children, Madame Tricastin cannot fulfil this patriotic role, as neither she nor her children live to hear Glandeve’s words. The tragedy’s melancholy conclusion thereby evokes poignantly the words of Léon’s protest: opposing Chaumette’s suggestion that the acquisition of weaponry transforms the loyal mother into a ‘disgusting’ female warrior, Inchbald’s tragedy, in harmony with Léon’s petition, suggests  that it is not woman’s possession of ‘a pike’, but, quite contrarily, her inability to access one, which is threatening the country’s depletion of the ‘mere de famille’. ‘The Subject Is So Horrid’: The Massacre as Closet Drama The Massacre was not performed on stage during Inchbald’s lifetime. In her play’s advertisement, Inchbald informs her readers that The Massacre was ‘never intended for representation’, and that when she ‘first undertook the foregoing scenes’, she ‘never flattered herself that they would be proper to appear on the stage’.91 In fact, as her memoirist James Boaden notes, Inchbald had contemplated staging the drama, but it was rejected for performance both by Thomas Harris at Covent Garden and George Colman at the Haymarket, on account of its depiction of ‘so disagreeable a subject’.92 Owing to the greater economic rewards of writing for the stage, as well as the ability to reach expansive audiences through theatrical compositions, it was common for dramatists to send their scripts on to alternative theatre managers—especially provincial theatre managers—following rejection in London.93 Yet Inchbald sent her script to Harris and Colman only before agreeing with them that the piece was unlikely to ‘give satisfaction to an audience’.94 Documenting her decision in the Diary, a journalist announced in October 1792 that ‘the fair author’ has

 Inchbald, Massacre, III.ii.25.  Ibid., i. 92  Boaden, Memoirs of Mrs Inchbald, I:303. 93  Inchbald informed Godwin that she had ‘frequently obtained more pecuniary advantage by ten days labour in the dramatic way, than by the labour of […] ten months’ worth of novel writing. See letter from Inchbald to William Godwin, 3 November 1792, MS. Abinger c.1, Dec.509, Fol.115, 66. 94  Inchbald, Massacre, i. 90 91

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‘determined to convey her drama to the world through press’, having acknowledged that it is ‘unfit for the stage’.95 Inchbald was fiercely defensive of her reputation. It was of the utmost importance to her that she was considered congenial by the public, and throughout her career she went out of her way to ensure an unsullied reputation in both her private and professional life.96 Alert to the unique vulnerability of the dramatist to ‘hisses and groans, from a dissatisfied audience’ which ‘strike on the ear like a personal insult’ and blacken the playwright’s name, it is not unfeasible to resolve that Inchbald suppressed The Massacre from the stage over fears of sparking public disapprobation in the political climate of 1792.97 To argue that it was reputation consciousness alone that dictated the play’s representational medium, however, is to overlook the interrelatedness between The Massacre’s form and its intended emotional response. Romantic theatre scholars including Thomas Crochunis, Catherine Burroughs and Melinda Nuss have demonstrated the vigilance among late eighteenth-century playwrights of ‘the formal, aesthetic and psychological potentials’ of the closet drama when contrasted with the performed play.98 Inchbald’s sophisticated understanding of the distinct capacities of text and performance is evidenced abundantly in her series of ‘Remarks’ compiled in The British Theatre, in which she grapples recurringly with the ‘very different effect[s]’ that a play can produce ‘upon the stage and in the closet’.99 Given her astute awareness that certain dramas are ‘pleasanter to read than to see’, it is reasonable  Diary, 20 October 1792.  See Ben Robertson, Elizabeth Inchbald’s Reputation: A Publishing and Reception History (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2012), esp.11-46; and Harriet Guest, Unbounded Attachment: Sentiment and Politics in the Age of the French Revolution (Oxford: OUP, 2013), 7-8, 84. Inchbald’s reputation consciousness becomes most evident in 1797, when she falls out with Godwin following his marriage to Mary Wollstonecraft. See Kegan Paul, William Godwin, I:279. 97  Inchbald, ‘Remarks’ on Joseph Addison’s Cato, in The British Theatre; or a Collection of Plays, 25 vols (London: Longman, 1808), VIII:5. 98  Thomas C.  Crochunis, ‘The Function of the Closet Drama at the Present Time’, Romanticism on the Net (December 1998) [1 August 2014], 2; Catherine Burroughs, Closet Stages: Joanna Baillie and the Theater Theory of British Romantic Women Writers (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997), 1-26; and Melynda Nuss, Distance, Theatre and Public Voice (USA: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 33-58. 99  Inchbald, ‘Remarks’ on Edward Moore’s The Gamester, in British Theatre, IX:4. For further examples see Inchbald’s ‘Remarks’ on James Thompson’s Tancred and Sigismunda, VIII:4; and Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, III:4. 95 96

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to surmise that The Massacre’s confinement to the closet was dictated as much so by intended effect, as it was Inchbald’s preoccupation with evading public censure.100 In the advertisement printed in The Massacre, Inchbald quotes Horace Walpole’s postscript to his unstaged tragedy The Mysterious Mother (1768) in order to explain her tragedy’s impropriety for the theatre. She postulates that her printed narrative, which is ‘so truly tragic in the essential springs of terror and pity’, is not ‘proper to appear on the stage’, as ‘the subject is so horrid’ that ‘it would shock, rather than give satisfaction to an audience’.101 The advertisement reflects the distinction made by literary and aesthetic theorists between representations which inspire ‘terror’ and those which are simply ‘horrid’.102 Drawing on Aristotelian theories of tragedy, drama critics merited terror for its ability to ‘inspire that sympathetic distress’ and ‘that delicate melancholy which we feel for the misfortunes of others’.103 While terror induced profitably compassionate emotions, horror exerted a contrarily benumbing effect. Summarising this polarity in his Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757), Edmund Burke suggests that while anything ‘terrible’ is ‘productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling’, horror creates astonishment, which ‘is that state of the soul in which all its motions are suspended’.104 Echoing Burke in a posthumously published essay, gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe declared, Terror and horror are so far opposite, that [while] the first expands the soul, and awakens the faculties to a higher degree of life: the other contracts, freezes, and nearly annihilates it.105

Burke and Radcliffe theorise that while terror works to enlarge the spectators’ emotional faculties, horror repulses the spectator, freezing and  Inchbald, ‘Remarks’ on The Clandestine Marriage, in British Theatre, XVI:5.  Inchbald, Massacre, i. 102  On eighteenth-century conceptions of horror and terror see Devendra Varma, The Gothic Flame: Being a History of the Gothic Novel in England (New York: Russell, 1966), 129-130. 103  Edward Taylor, Cursory remarks on tragedy, on Shakespeare, and on certain French and Italian poets, principally tragedians (London: W. Olwen, 1774), 1. 104  Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (London: R. and J. Dodsley, 1757), 13, 41. 105  Ann Radcliffe, ‘On the Supernatural in Poetry’, in The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal 16 (January 1826), 149. 100 101

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suspending the viewer’s psychological capacities, and provoking emotional withdrawal from the represented action.106 In the latter half of the century, drama critics were widely agreed that one of the greatest provocations of horror in the theatre was the spectacle of dead bodies on stage.107 In 1796 the Edinburgh periodical The Ghost printed an article complaining that ‘the English have no conception of a tragedy’ in which ‘the spectators do not witness the stage strewed with dead bodies’. When the spectator is exposed to such morbid spectacle, continues the journalist, ‘he is shocked with horror at a sight so obnoxious to human nature’.108 Inchbald’s tragedy, as we have seen, concludes with three dead bodies on stage: Madame Tricastin and her two children, who have each been brutally murdered. Eusebe’s response to the bodies mirrors the reaction the scene was liable to provoke if exhibited in the theatre. Corresponding with Burke’s and Radcliffe’s suggestion that horror freezes and contracts the emotions of the viewer, Eusebe’s encounter with the corpses leaves him literally frozen: he stands ‘like a statue of horror at the sight’.109 Eusebe is so pained and repulsed by the spectacle set before him that rather than pitying the mutilated victims, he pities himself for having been exposed to such a view. He exclaims that all his previously unpleasant experiences were ‘far, far less horrible than this!’ and he informs his father, in a similarly self-pitying speech, that ‘your son was born for greater anguish than human nature can support’.110 Eusebe’s response to the corpses had been anticipated earlier in the play, when, reacting to a ‘horrid pile’ of ‘dead bodies’ witnessed during the massacre, he gave way to the plea: ‘Oh, that I could forget them all—banish the whole forever from my memory!—That all who were spectators could do the same’.111 Consonant with aesthetic theories of horror, the spectacle of death repels Eusebe to the extent that he cannot bear to reflect on it. He wants not to engage 106  For an argument similar to Radcliffe’s see Nathan Drake, ‘Observations on Objects of Terror’, in The Edinburgh Magazine or Literary Miscellany (March 1799), 192. 107  See Yael Shapira’s comprehensive exploration of this topic in ‘Shakespeare, The Castle of Otranto, and the Problem of the Corpse on the Eighteenth-Century Stage’, EighteenthCentury Life, vol. 36, no. 1 (Winter 2012), 1-29. 108  Ghost, 14 May 1796, quoted in Shapira ‘Shakespeare’, 7. For further examples of this complaint see Thomas Wilkes, A General View of the Stage (London: J. Coote, 1759), 31; and Francis Gentleman, The Dramatic Censor; or, Critical Companion, 2 vols (London: J. Bell, 1770), I:97. 109  Inchbald, Massacre, III.i.29. 110  Ibid., III.i.30. 111  Ibid., I.i.7.

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with the sight, but to forget the scene entirely. Representative of the theatregoer who has witnessed action so atrocious that it prompts revulsion, Eusebe experiences desperation to extricate himself from the morbid scene and to erase it completely from his mind. Eusebe’s analogy with the theatregoer derives from his ability physically to see the corpses. While such visibility aligns him with the spectator, it distances him from the reader, whose response to macabre spectacle takes an allegedly contrary form. In 1784, actor and bookseller Thomas Davies anticipated the attitudes expressed in The Ghost when commenting critically on performances of Shakespeare’s King Lear. Davies bemoans that ‘the slaughter of characters in the last act’ of the play provokes ‘unutterable horror’ and prevents spectators from ‘look[ing] for any considerable time at the agonising woe’. This same scene, however, is valued by Davies for being ‘really so afflicting to a mind of sensibility’ when received ‘in the closet’.112 A decade prior, playwright and performer Francis Gentleman articulated similar attitudes to an equally lurid moment in Shakespeare’s King Lear. Gentleman expresses his ‘wish that the insignificant, cruel, offensive scene, where Gloucester’s eyes are put out had been left to narration’. He continues that ‘[t]he subject of it’, while ‘in action, is shocking’, would ‘have approached well in description’.113 Davies and Gentleman are insistent that scenes of death and grievous bodily suffering ought to be told and not shown. When narrated in words, the scenes are appropriately afflicting, but when embodied on stage, they are too agonising to bear. In her aforementioned essay, Radcliffe offers an explanation for the contrary functions attributed to equivalently macabre scenes when exhibited on stage and communicated in writing. Radcliffe proposes that the ‘great difference between horror and terror’ lies in the latter’s ‘uncertainty and obscurity’. She continues, [an] image imparts more of terror than of horror [when] it is not distinctly pictured forth, but is seen in glimpses through obscuring shades, the great outlines only appearing, which excite the imagination to complete the rest.

112  Thomas Davies, Dramatic Miscellanies: consisting of critical observations on several plays of Shakespeare, 3 vols (Dublin: S. Price et al., 1784), II:171. 113  Gentleman, The Dramatic Censor, I:362. See also Inchbald’s own ‘Remarks’ on King Lear in British Theatre, IV:5.

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For Radcliffe, spectacle which is only vaguely decipherable evades the benumbing effect excited by horror by inviting ‘the imagination to act upon the few hints that truth reveals’.114 The mystery surrounding the image creates anticipation which encourages spectators to engage fully with the picture, preventing their withdrawal from the action or vision conveyed. The importance of obscurity considered, Radcliffe contends that a written description is more likely to produce terror than is a grotesque sight. She theorises that poets ‘strike and interest a reader by the representation even more than a general view of the real scene itself could do’, as written descriptions, more so than visual displays, leave a lot ‘to the imagination’.115 Radcliffe again harks back to Burke here, who had analogously argued that in order ‘to make anything truly terrible, obscurity seems in general to be necessary’, and as ‘verbal description’ raises ‘a very obscure and imperfect idea’ of its object, the poet has the ‘power to raise a stronger emotion by the description’, than the artist ‘could by the best painting’.116 While Radcliffe and Burke grant verbal descriptions transcendence over visual images in their capacity for obscurity, written narratives were by no means considered immune from the elicitation of horror. This idea is exemplified by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his review of Matthew G. Lewis’ gothic novel The Monk (1797), labelled by Coleridge as ‘a tale of horror’. Coleridge protests that Lewis ‘deserves our gratitude almost equally with him who should drag us by way of sport through a military hospital, or force us to sit at the dissecting table of a natural philosopher’, as he overwhelms us with ‘images of naked horror’, so ‘frightful and intolerable that we break with abruptness from the delusion’.117 Coleridge shows Lewis’ graphic and meticulous descriptions of bodily suffering to prompt the same repugnance in his readers that the viewer would experience if witnessing the scenes in plain sight. As his raillery infers, verbal descriptions, when rendered too stark, can have the same diverting effect as macabre spectacle witnessed on the stage.  Radcliffe, ‘Supernatural’, 150.  Ibid., 151, 150. 116  Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry, 43, 45. 117  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ‘Review of The Monk’, in Gothic Documents: A Sourcebook, 1700-1820, eds. E.  J.  Clery and Robert Mills (Manchester: Manchester UP, 2000), 188, 186-187. For indicative justifications of Coleridge’s complaint see for instance the description of Ambrosio’s expiring body in Lewis’ The Monk (1797), eds. James Kinsley and Howard Anderson (Oxford: OUP, 1980), 442. 114 115

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Seemingly cognisant of this, Inchbald is careful to ensure the tolerability of her own textual portrayals of morbid subject matter in the closing act of The Massacre. In the final scene of the play, the entrance of the corpses is related in a stage direction which reads: A bier is brought in, followed by several domestic attendants and some soldiers.— On the bier is laid the dead body of Madame Tricastin, and two children, dead by her side.118

The description lacks any specific details regarding the blood, gaudy wounds, or potential mutilation that one would expect to constitute a ‘butchered’ corpse. Shrouded in obscurity, the image invites ‘the imagination to act upon the few hints that truth reveals’.119 In doing so, it activates the readers’ curiosity, preventing emotional withdrawal from the scene. By deterring readers from breaking ‘with abruptness from the delusion’, affective investment in the tragedy is upheld until the end, and it is compassion, as opposed to repulsion, that is excited in the reader.120 Not benumbed by grotesquery, readers are encouraged by pity to consider the circumstances that led to the victim’s deaths, and thereby to contemplate the vulnerabilities cast upon physically defenceless women. Accordingly, by printing the tragedy as a closet drama, devoid of scenes of horror, Inchbald produces a composition which, on account of being ‘so truly tragic in the essential springs of terror and pity’, serves as a powerful manifesto for women’s martial rights. ‘Maid ’Gainst Man Is Most Uncivil War’: The Demise of Inchbald’s Armed Women Or at least, it would have done, had it not been withdrawn from print after the release of an initial edition in September 1792.121 While Inchbald’s decision not to stage her tragedy can be explained in terms of aesthetic theory, The Massacre’s removal from publication results from politics catching up with it. Though Inchbald’s drama was written prior to the September Massacres, its print run, as Inchbald acknowledged in a  Inchbald, Massacre, III.i.29.  Radcliffe, ‘Supernatural’, 150. 120  Coleridge, ‘Review of The Monk’, 186. 121  See Robertson, Elizabeth Inchbald’s Reputation, 95. 118 119

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footnote to her tragedy, would indeed have coincided with the event.122 Both William Godwin and Thomas Holcroft implored Inchbald not to publish The Massacre on account of its political overtones, and her subsequent agreement to keep the material concealed was welcomed in the press.123 The pro-government newspaper the Diary declared in November 1792: Mrs Inchbald has translated a French drama on the subject of the late dreadful massacres in France; but, unwilling to involve herself in political disputes, or incur political prejudices, she has prudently suppressed the work in question after she had suffered the expense of printing an edition.124

As the fate of The Massacre suggests, the initiation of France’s Reign of Terror profoundly influenced the subject matter that could be published and staged in Britain. As animosity towards the revolution increased, so too did the scrutiny of dramatic texts and performances that seemed to engage with the ‘political disputes’ witnessed across the Channel. While this heightened vigilance by no means brought an end to Inchbald’s dramatic forays into public and political debates, it is possible to locate in Inchbald’s later plays a marked withdrawal from the position on arms-­ bearing women depicted in Next Door Neighbours and The Massacre. Just two months after The Massacre’s suppression from performance and print, Inchbald’s serious comedy Every One Has His Fault (1793) was staged at Covent Garden. Though featuring a female character (Lady Eleanor Irwin) with a family connection to military affairs, women’s engagement with war is now confined solely to wifely duty, as opposed to martial combat, and the drama’s prologue, written by the Reverend Robert Nares, comments overtly on the impropriety associated with the latter.125 Beginning with an allusion to Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), the prologue recounts (with some hyperbole) the coalescence of male and female roles being advocated by the ‘female pen’. It reads:  See Inchbald, Massacre, I.i.9.  See Boaden, Memoirs of Mrs Inchbald, I:303-304. 124  Diary, 10 November 1792. 125  On Lady Eleanor Irwin’s characterisation see Paula R. Backscheider, Women in Wartime: Theatrical Representations in the Long Eighteenth Century (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2021), 271-278. 122 123

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The Rights of Women, says a female pen, Are, to do everything as well as Men. To think, to argue, to decide, to write, To talk, undoubtedly—perhaps, to fight. [For Females march to war, like brave Commanders, Not in old Authors only—but in Flanders.]

On the one hand, Inchbald might herself be aligned with the doctrines attributed here to the ‘female pen’: as we have seen, the heroine’s right ‘to fight’ is afforded crucial weight in both Next Door Neighbours and The Massacre. Rather than upholding this position, however, women’s intervention in martial combat is subsequently dismissed as an example of arguments for female rights which have been ‘strain’d too far’. Outrightly discouraging women’s martial combat on the grounds that ‘Maid ’gainst Man is most uncivil war’, the prologue presents a somewhat ironic harmony with the publication against which it positions itself, when insisting that women put aside military aspirations to ‘cultivate that useful part— the mind’, from which their greatest capacities derive.126 Though written by Nares, a conservative propagandist frequently employed by Covent Garden to produce theatrical accompaniments that supported Governmental agendas, the prologue was approved by Inchbald ahead of the play’s debut.127 Katherine S.  Green interprets Inchbald’s acceptance of the prologue as a vital part of her ploy for ‘smuggling onto the stage’ progressive ideologies at a time when politically inflected dramas were under increasingly close surveillance.128 Every One Has His Fault is rife with reformist undertones: it exposes social injustices by criticising the class system and calls into question the sanctity of marriage. Offsetting the play with a prologue that condemns behaviour reminiscent of, and arising from, events in revolutionary France, a degree of separation is lodged between the play’s controversial subject matter, and the Jacobinical precepts it was liable to evoke. While evidently not doing enough in the eyes of the conservative press to mitigate the play’s levelling principles—the content of the drama earning Inchbald the title of ‘democrat’ in a review 126  ‘Prologue’ to Elizabeth Inchbald’s Every One Has His Fault: A Comedy, in Five Acts (London: G. G. J. and J. Robinson, 1793). On the harmony between this conjecture and the argument expressed in Wollstonecraft’s Vindication see my Introduction. 127  See Katherine S.  Green, ‘Mr Harmony and the Events of January 1793: Elizabeth Inchbald’s Every One Has His Fault’, Theatre Journal, vol. 56 (March 2004), 51-52. 128  Green, ‘Mr Harmony’, 62.

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printed in The True Briton—the play’s conservative prologue was nonetheless paramount to the play’s ability to satisfy the Examiner and earn itself a license.129 By 1793, therefore, support for arms-bearing women was the necessary sacrifice made by Inchbald to enable her ongoing dramatic interventions in public and ‘political disputes’. Given the impact of the Terror, it is unsurprising that Inchbald communicates her most overt and radical standpoints on women’s military mobilisation at the start of the revolutionary decade. As the movement deteriorated into anarchy and bloodshed, its scenes, and the agents responsible for such scenes, diverged even further from the type of content appropriate for female playwrights to engage with or evoke in the public arena of the theatre. Despite the increasing scarcity of armed heroines in serious performances penned by female authors, however, women nonetheless continued to exert their agency over the female warrior’s theatrical identity: if not through the act of writing, then through that of physical embodiment. It is to an interrogation of the female performers’ role in refashioning the armed heroine on the post-Reign of Terror London stage that I turn in the next chapter.

References Newspapers

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Artist (The) Diary, or Woodfall’s Register Edinburgh Magazine or Literary Miscellany (The) General Magazine and Impartial Review (The) Lady’s Monthly Museum, or Polite Repository of Amusement and Instruction (The) New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal (The) Public Advertiser True Briton (The) Westminster Magazine (The)

Manuscript Collections Abinger Collection. Bodleian Library. Oxford. Forster Collection. MS 116. National Art Library. Victoria and Albert Museum.

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CHAPTER 3

‘The Ruthless Queen’: Lady Macbeth and Margaret of Anjou on the Post-Reign of Terror London Stage

This chapter centres on theatrical representations of two ‘ruthless Queen[s]’ made famous by the pen of William Shakespeare: the murderous Lady Macbeth and the warrior Queen Margaret of Anjou, popularised in Shakespeare’s King Henry VI, Part III (1592).1 The former chapter foregrounded the extent to which textual revisions serve to appropriate adapted dramas for the communication of amended ideological meanings. This chapter shifts its attention to changing performance contexts, with the aim of charting the transmission in plays from the past of new cultural values when reinterpreted in revised contextual settings.2 The performances under scrutiny are John Philip Kemble’s 1794 production of Macbeth (DL; 1794), featuring the renowned tragedienne Sarah Siddons as its heroine, and a rendition of Thomas Francklin’s historical tragedy The

1  William Shakespeare, King Henry VI, Part III, in The Works of William Shakespeare, in eight volumes. In which the beauties observed by Pope, Warburton, and Dodd, are pointed out (Edinburgh: Bell & Bradfute, J.  Dickson, W.  Creech, J. & J.  Fairbairn, and T.  Duncan, 1795), I.vi.106. 2  In adopting this method I subscribe to David Worrall’s conjecture that plays ‘re-territorialised by new audiences in determinable, temporal, and spatial locations’, open themselves up to ‘new political and ideological meanings’. See Worrall, Celebrity, Performance, Reception: British Georgian Theatre as Social Assemblage (Cambridge: CUP, 2013), 86.

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023 S. Burdett, The Arms-Bearing Woman and British Theatre in the Age of Revolution, 1789-1815, Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-15474-4_3

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Earl of Warwick (1766) (Haymarket; 1797), in which Margaret of Anjou is personated by little-known actress Sarah Yates. My analyses of these performances are informed by Marvin Carlson’s theory of ‘ghosting’: the haunting recollection in the theatre of something previously encountered within an altered context.3 I contend in my reading of Macbeth that the ghost of Marie Antoinette lingers surprisingly behind Siddons’ heroine. The memory of the French Queen’s execution, coaxed into reanimation by the play’s oblique allusions to Marie Antoinette, in living and spectral form, is shown to prohibit the tragedy’s achievement of Aristotelian catharsis and to encourage instead emotional tension, and an active response to such tension, impelled by the longing fostered in theatregoers for the closure that the tragedy, like the Queen’s execution itself, fails in Britain to grant. In the case of The Earl of Warwick, I propose that Yates’ Margaret is ghosted both by sentimentalised depictions of the Lancastrian Queen which emerge on the 1790s London stage, and, most pointedly, by the actress’ authentic self: the presentation of which in both the press, and in an address spoken at the close of the play, provides theatregoers with a unique lens through which to re-interpret Shakespeare’s haughty amazon.4 Freighted with unexpected allusions to figures of political and local significance, the identity of each armed heroine is cleansed of the subversiveness inherent in the play  text, and assimilated into conservative discourses on revolution and gender: while Siddons’ heroine comes to operate as a powerful figure in the crusade against Jacobinism, Yates’ Margaret is transformed from a dangerously ‘Ruthless Queen’ into a loving and sentimental mother.

3  See Marvin Carlson, The Haunted Stage: The Theatre as Memory Machine (USA: University of Michigan Press, 2003), 1–15. 4  In offering these readings I engage with Natalie Wolfram’s suggestion that performances are haunted by ‘media circulating outside of the theatre’. See Wolfram, ‘Gothic Adaptation and the Stage Ghost’, in Theatre and Ghosts: Materiality, Performance, Modernity, eds. Mary Luckhurst and Emilie Morin (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), 49. For my earlier work on Sarah Yates’ rendition of Margaret of Anjou in The Earl of Warwick see Sarah Burdett, ‘“Weeping Mothers Shall Applaud”: Sarah Yates as Margaret of Anjou on the London Stage, 1797′, Comparative Drama, vol. 49, no. 4, special edition (Winter 2015), 419–444.

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‘Tis Gallia’s Hopeless Queen!’: Resurrecting the Dead in Kemble’s Macbeth On 21 April 1794, John Philip Kemble’s production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth was staged at the new Drury Lane Theatre. The production appeared just six months after the execution of Marie Antoinette, an event which greatly intensified British antipathy to the French Revolution. Building on scholarship that has emphasised the capacity for Shakespearean plays to acquire new meanings when reinterpreted in the context of the 1790s, my analysis makes a case for identifying Marie Antoinette’s death, and the spectacle surrounding it, as crucial in facilitating an ideologically-­ charged and deeply psychological reading of Kemble’s production, in which the living represent the dead, the fictive represents the real, and death is equated not with tragic closure, but antithetically, with the need for such closure in political and cultural terms.5 Marie Antoinette was a key player in the theatrical spectacle of the French Revolution.6 Her execution was performed centre stage in Paris at the Place de Revolution, in a manner shown to combine the theatrical customs of farce and domestic drama.7 The event was exhibited before a vast public crowd, who responded to the spectacle as they might have 5  See esp. Frans De Bruyn, ‘Shakespeare and the French Revolution’, in Shakespeare in the Eighteenth Century, eds. Fiona Ritchie and Peter Sabor (Cambridge: CUP, 2012), 297–313; David Taylor, The Politics of Parody: A Literary History of Caricature, 1760–1830 (USA: Yale University Press, 2018), 71–139; Jonathan Bate, Shakespeare and the English Romantic Imagination (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986); Bate, Shakespearean Constitutions: Politics, Theatre, Criticism, 1730–1830 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989); Mary Jacobus, ‘“That Great Stage Where Senators Perform”: Macbeth and the Politics of Romantic Theatre’, Studies in Romanticism, vol. 22, no. 3 (Fall, 1983), 353–387; Fiona Ritchie, Women and Shakespeare in the Eighteenth Century (New York: CUP, 2014), 110–140; and Terry F.  Robinson, ‘The 1794 Macbeth and Its Conjuring Effects: Rethinking Romantic-Era Spectatorship,’ in The Visual Life of Romantic Theater, 1780–1830, eds. Diane Piccitto and Terry F. Robinson (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, Forthcoming Spring 2023). The latter essay shares my emphasis on the significance of theatrical spectacle in re-negotiating dramatic meaning. 6  On theatricality and the French Revolution see Marie Helene Huet, Mourning Glory: The Will of the French Revolution (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997); Paul Friedland, Political Actors: Representative Bodies and Theatricality in the Age of the French Revolution (London: Cornell University Press, 2002); and Susan Maslan, Revolutionary Acts: Theater, Democracy, and the French Revolution (Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 2005). 7   See Sanja Perovic, The Calendar in Revolutionary France: Perceptions of Time in Literature, Culture, Politics (Cambridge: CUP, 2012), 127–141.

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done a good play: a journalist writing for the Evening Mail tells how ‘the hired mob, which was assembled in the courts and the streets, cried out bravo, in the midst of plaudits’.8 As Sanja Perovic has outlined, Marie Antoinette’s death was required ‘to achieve what the trial and execution of the King failed to grant: the definitive end of the Revolution’. That the Queen was still living following the execution of Louis XVI and the creation of the revolutionary calendar ‘frustrated the revolutionaries’ claims that the new world was in place, and the Revolution over’. Despite the proclamation of new time, the revolution would only reach its ultimate end once ‘the genealogical continuity that reaffirmed the King’s symbolic presence’ was erased ‘once and for all’.9 Given the complications of her ongoing existence, it is significant that the mob’s response to Marie Antoinette’s execution mimics the ovation conventionally heard at the end of a play: contrasting with the death of Louis in July, which was marked with profound silence, the execution of Marie Antoinette, replicating the French theatrical practice of following a piece of serious theatre—the death of the King—with a closing farce, provided the afterpiece necessary to allow the curtain finally to come down, albeit nine months later than planned, on the drama of the French Revolution.10 If Marie Antoinette’s execution was framed by the French Republic however as a definitive break with the past, the alignment of her death with any form of ending was disrupted in Britain by the refusal of monarchical sympathisers to allow the Queen to die; or at least, to die properly. From October 1793, the British public were brought into continual contact with multimedia manifestations of Marie Antoinette’s ghost: both metaphorical and literal. Confronted on the one hand with representations of the Queen as she was while she lived—representations which themselves become ghostly following the Queen’s demise—the public were exposed concurrently to representations of the Queen as a spectral form having risen from the dead. While the Queen’s ghost materialises literally and explicitly in a number of poetical works, this chapter is concerned chiefly with the role played by theatrical spectacle in enabling the potential detection by British audiences of allegorical representations of the late Queen’s ghost on stage. And it is here that we turn to Kemble’s Macbeth.  ‘Execution of the Queen of France’, Evening Mail, October 22–24, 1793, 5.  Perovic, The Calendar, 132, 130, 133. 10  Ibid., 134–41. 8 9

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‘Living Portraits’: Political Allegory and Shakespearean Ghosts Theatre historians have long stressed the capacity and readiness of Georgian audiences to interpret plays as contemporary political commentaries. When theatre censorship escalated following the Terror, and playwrights were forced to engage with political affairs using veiled methods, audiences keenly sought out surreptitious standpoints and readily manipulated plays’ nuanced meanings to suit their own political agendas.11 In this context, allegorical readings of dramatis personae as modern-day figures became a popular practice. This was something that the dramatist Frederick Reynolds discovered to his dismay in 1795, when his comedy The Rage was perceived by ‘the mis-judging million’ to present ‘living portraits’ of various members of Parliament, making him ‘a democrat, without knowing it’.12 Performances of Shakespeare were especially prone to this treatment. As David Taylor has shown, the ubiquity of Shakespearean figures within political allegories of the Georgian period meant that the plays themselves became rife with allegorical interpretation.13 Particularly prevalent in the 1790s were allusions to the ghost of Banquo from Macbeth, used to signify guilt among those complicit in revolutionary horrors: not just French radicals, but British revolutionary sympathisers too, who came to feel accountable for the deterioration into violence of a movement they had extolled.14 Alongside the ghost of Banquo, that of Hamlet Senior was equally pervasive. As Dale Townshend identifies, Macbeth and Hamlet, the most frequently performed of Shakespeare’s tragedies during the final quarter of the eighteenth century, provided ‘precedents for two distinctive modes of ghost-seeing’ which dominated cultural understandings of 11  See esp. Gillian Russell, The Theatres of War: Performance, Politics and Society, 1793–1815 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995); Susan Valladares, Staging the Peninsular War: English Theatres, 1807–1815 (London: Routledge, 2015); George Taylor, The French Revolution on the London Stage, 1789–1805 (Cambridge: CUP, 2000), 97–126; and John Barrell, “‘An Entire Change of Performances?” The Politicisation of Theatre and the Theatricalisation of Politics in the mid 1790s’, Lumen, vol. 17 (1998), 11–50. 12  Frederick Reynolds, The Life and Times of Frederick Reynolds, 2 vols (London: Jenry Colburn, 1826), II:181. 13  See Taylor, Politics of Parody, 71–139. See also Valladares, Staging, 59–105. 14  See Matthew Buckley, Tragedy Walks the Streets: The French Revolution in the Making of Modern Drama (Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 2006), 96–109; and Steven Blakemore, Crisis in Representation: Thomas Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft, Helen Maria Williams, and the Rewriting of the French Revolution (London: Associated UPs, 1997), 103–72.

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apparitions in the period’s literature: while ghosts modelled on Banquo appeared before the guilty and signified wrongdoing, those fashioned in the image of Hamlet Senior appeared before the virtuous to inspire vengeance against unpunished crimes.15 The ghost’s dual characterisation in 1790s political and literary culture is epitomised in two poetical accounts of Marie Antoinette’s apparition published in Britain ahead of Kemble’s production. In an anonymously written ballad of 1793, it is the ghost of Banquo to which the Queen’s apparition alludes. While the ‘murd’rous guilty train’ of the revolutionary Convention sit plotting ‘bloody deeds’, they are confronted by a ‘ghastly sight’ whose ‘locks with blood [are] stain’d’.16 The ghost expresses her ‘pity’ for the ‘lost’ and ‘desolate crew’ who ‘tremble’ in her presence, before warning them to ‘leave [their] crimes’, issuing the statement: Let Antoinetta’s hapless fate Teach you humanity, tho’ late […] When blunted conscience wake her strings, […] Remorse must sure each wretch appal If now quite deaf to Mercy’s call.17

Like Banquo in the banquet scene, Marie Antoinette’s apparition returns to earth to ‘shake [her] goary locks’ at those responsible for her death, with the objective of awakening their ‘blunted conscience’ by fostering in them horror and guilt.18 The following year, in Edward Holland’s ‘Elegy on the death of the late Queen of France’ (1794), it is the ghost of Hamlet Senior upon which Marie Antionette’s apparition is modelled. Reminding readers of the fate of the ‘hapless parents’ who were ‘torn to a scaffold’ by their ‘murd’rous foes’, Holland summons up the royal ghosts to aid his call to vengeance against revolutionary France. He commands: 15  See Dale Townshend, ‘Gothic Shakespeare’, in A New Companion to the Gothic, ed. David Punter (Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 43–49. See also Townshend’s ‘Gothic and the Ghost of Hamlet’, in Gothic Shakespeares, eds. John Drakakis and Dale Townshend (Abingdon: Routledge, 2008), 60–97. 16  Anon., A Ballad on the death of Louis the unfortunate […] and A description of the appearance of Marie Antoinette’s ghost (Bristol: John Rose, 1793), 20, 22, 28. 17  Anon., Ballad, 23–24. 18   John Philip Kemble  /  William Shakespeare, Macbeth: written by Shakespeare. As Represented by Their Majesties Servants on Opening the Theatre Royal Drury Lane (London: C. Lowndes, 1794), III.iv.40.

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European powers now all your force unite Appease their ghosts, avenge with all your might; Oh may your vet’rans regicides destroy, Laying guilty Paris low as ancient Troy.19

Reminiscent of Hamlet’s father, the appearance of the French King and Queen signifies unrequited vice: the royal spirits are not presently at peace, as the ‘foul crimes, done in [their] days of nature’ are yet to be chastised.20 The poem therefore instructs its readers that in order to placate the Queen’s ‘perturbed spirit’ and finally ‘end her woes’, efforts must be made to punish those responsible for her murder, and to cease the ‘mighty triumph’ of Jacobinism.21 I consider this twofold meaning projected onto ghosts in contemporary British culture to play a vital role in intensifying the political poignancy of Kemble’s Macbeth. This is perhaps a surprising claim to make, given that Banquo’s ghost is omitted from the production: a point to which I will return later. However, I want to argue that the 1794 production is not without its own equivocal spectre, whose identification with either one of these Shakespearean archetypes allows for the tragedy’s re-appropriation as a strikingly powerful anti-Jacobin polemic. In her study Ghostly Matters, Avery Gordon defines the act of haunting as ‘an animated state in which a repressed or unresolved social violence is making itself known, sometimes very directly, sometimes more obliquely’. It ‘is when the over and done with comes alive’, and ‘registers the harm inflicted or the loss sustained by a social violence done in the past or in the present’.22 This conflation of ghosts with unresolved social violence has been identified by theatre scholars as a prevalent theatrical trope. Mary Luckhurst and Emilie Morin, for instance, observe the increasing deployment of the stage ghost as ‘a powerful political device’ used to force a recognition of the violence produced by acts such as war and terrorism.23  Edward Holland, A Poetical Miscellany (Cork: J. Connor, 1794), 39.  William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. A Tragedy. Taken from the manager’s book, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (London: Rachael Randall, 1787), I.v.15. 21  Holland, Poetical Miscellany, 39. 22  Avery Gordon, Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), xvi. 23  Mary Luckhurst and Emilie Morin, ‘Introduction: Theatre and Spectrality’, in Theatre and Ghosts, 1. 19 20

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This theory of the ghost’s politicisation underpins my reading of Kemble’s Macbeth. Applied to this performance, the ‘unresolved social violence’ that the ghost, or quasi-ghost represents, is that of the Terror. Marie Antoinette’s execution, that which is ‘over and done’ with, is brought back into view by a covert allusion to the late Queen of France, which materialises, I suggest, from the surprising, yet striking parallels formed between Siddons’ Lady Macbeth, and popular representations of Marie Antoinette, both living and dead, circulating on and off the stage. Siddons’ fluid performance of Lady Macbeth replicates the late Queen’s shifting characterisation in British accounts from controlling monster, to sentimental victim, to plaintive apparition: the haunting experience of coming face-to-face with the latter forcing audiences to register ‘the harm inflicted or the loss sustained’ by Jacobin violence. Interpreted in the context of the dual meaning assigned to ghosts in 1790s literary and theatrical culture, the quasi-spectre is embellished with the capacity to communicate two contrary, yet equally loyalist meanings: capable on the one hand of inspiring in spectators vengeful sentiments against revolutionary France, it has the simultaneous ability to impel theatregoers of a less clear conscience to identify themselves among the guilty, and to share the heroine’s desperation to out the ‘damn’d spot’ of royal blood.24 Embodying Marie Antoinette: From Monster to Victim My reading of Kemble’s Macbeth rests upon audiences’ recognition of Siddons’ double embodiment in the play of both fictional character and historical figure: Shakespearean heroine and late Queen of France. This dual transformation, I argue, is enabled chiefly by the marked parallels between the unique manner in which Shakespeare’s well-known heroine was personated and presented in 1794, and the wealth of multimedia representations of Marie Antoinette and her ghost infiltrating British culture. As has been well documented, Siddons departed from the rendition of Lady Macbeth offered by her forerunner in the capital, Hannah Pritchard, by creating two contrasting personae for her heroine. While Pritchard had played Lady Macbeth throughout as a ‘kind of angry Hecate’, reviews show Siddons’ heroine to shift across the course of the tragedy from ‘a

 Kemble, Macbeth, V.i.56.

24

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masculine sublime subject’ to ‘a feminine beautiful object’.25 Starting out as a regicidal ‘fiend-like woman’ who belongs ‘to a darker world, full of evil’, Siddons’ character later transforms into a ‘fair, feminine, nay perhaps even fragile’ Queen, whose ‘feminine nature’ and ‘delicate structure’ are ‘overwhelmed by the enormous pressure of her crimes’, and provoke in her ‘the sickness and despair of guilty ambition’.26 While it has been argued that Lady Macbeth’s former persona, upheld while she delivers the ‘unsex me’ speech, identifies her explicitly in 1794 with ‘the revolutionary spirit threatening to run amok in Britain’, given the prevalent identification of ‘unsexed’ women with political reformers, it is equally possible to detect in both halves of Siddons’ performance allusions to popular delineations of Marie Antoinette, and to view the performance in its entirety as an analogy of the Queen’s ameliorative transformation in British representations.27 Scholars including Lynn Hunt and Adriana Craciun have identified the threat that Marie Antoinette’s gender posed to patriarchal structures. Owing to the ‘fundamental anxiety’ during the Ancien Régime ‘about Queenship as the most extreme form of woman’s invading the public sphere’, misogynistic representations of Marie Antoinette, appearing in Britain and France, depicted her as the ‘most notable femme fatale of the

25  James Boaden, Memoirs of Mrs Siddons: Interspersed with anecdotes of Authors and Actors, 2 vols (London: H.C. Carey & I. Lea, 1827), II:263; Laura Rosenthal, ‘The Sublime, the Beautiful, the Siddons’, in The Clothes that Wear Us, eds. Jessica Munns and Penny Richards (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2003), 74. See also Laura Engel, ‘The Personating of Queens: Lady Macbeth, Sarah Siddons and the Creation of Female Celebrity in the late Eighteenth Century’, in Macbeth: New Critical Essays, ed. Nick Moschovakis (London: Routledge, 2007), 251–52; Frederick Burwick, ‘The Ideal Shatters: Sarah Siddons, Madness, and the Dynamics of Gesture’, in Notorious Muse: The Actress in British Art and Culture, 1776–1812, ed. Robyn Asleson (New Haven: Yale UP, 2003), 129–50; and Marvin Rosenberg, The Masks of Macbeth (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978), 160–65. 26  Boaden, Memoirs, II:259; William Hazlitt, cited in Marvin Rosenberg, ‘Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries’, in Focus on Macbeth, ed. John Russell Brown (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1982), 77; Sarah Siddons, ‘Remarks on the Character of Lady Macbeth’, in Thomas Campbell, Life of Mrs. Siddons, 2 vols (London: Effingham Wilson, 1834), II:11, 22, 33; H.C.  Fleeming Jenkin, ‘Mrs Siddons as Lady Macbeth and as Queen Katherine’ (1878), in Papers on Acting, ed. Brander Matthews (New York: Hill & Wang, 1958), 79. 27  See John Drakakis and Dale Townshend, ‘Unsexing Macbeth: 1623–1800’, in Macbeth: A Critical Reader, ed. Dale Townshend (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), 172–204.

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period’, and as a figure who ‘was unsexed’.28 Aligned with infamous murderesses from the past, including Frédégonde, Messaline and Agrippina, whose merciless schemes and interventions in public life characterised them as unnaturally masculine and monstrous figures who ‘have become odious’ in eighteenth-century thought, Marie Antoinette was likened simultaneously to literal embodiments of monstrosity:29 in 1790 Joseph Priestley told how the French had ‘discovered [her] snaky hair’ and found ‘her to be a mere Medusa’, and British journalists frequently compared Marie Antoinette to a vampire, describing her as ‘the scourge and bloodsucker of the French’.30 While this reputation aligns Marie Antoinette with the ‘unsexed’ and ‘fiend-like’ woman exhibited by Siddons in the early half of Macbeth, so too does Siddons’ magnification in her heroine of the deceit and dominance for which the French Queen had become notorious. Echoing criticisms of Marie Antoinette as a woman who ‘smiled but to deceive’, and whose ‘compliments were so artfully adapted to flatter the person she wishes to please or dupe’, Kemble’s script, consistent with John Bell’s earlier adaptation, has Lady Macbeth insist that her husband’s ‘false face must hide what the false heart doth know’, and that he must ‘bear welcome in [his] eye, / [his] hand, [his] tongue’, and ‘look like the innocent flower/but be the serpent under it’.31 Indicative of Siddons’ accentuation of Lady Macbeth’s artfulness, the lawyer and spectator Professor George Bell describes Siddons’ method of masking her character’s savage designs by bowing ‘graciously and sweetly to the nobles’ ahead of Duncan’s murder, and Siddons’ biographer James Boaden similarly comments on

28  Lynn Hunt, ‘The Many Bodies of Marie Antoinette: Political Pornography and the Problem of the Feminine in the French Revolution’, in Marie Antoinette: Writings on the Body of the Queen, ed. Dena Goodman (New York: Routledge, 2003), 123; Adriana Craciun, Fatal Women of Romanticism (Cambridge: CUP, 2003), 78, 10. 29  ‘Trial of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France’, in The Scots Magazine, 55 (November 1793), 21. 30  Joseph Priestley, Letters to the Right Honourable Edmund Burke (Dublin: J. Shepherd, 1791), 16; ‘Trial of the late Queen of France’, in Walker’s Hibernia Magazine; or, Compendium of Knowledge (November 1793), 460; and ‘Authentic trial at large of Marie Antoinette’, in The Weekly Entertainer, 22 (2 December 1793), 543. 31  Mary Wollstonecraft, An Historical and Moral View of the Origin and Progress of the French Revolution (London: J. Johnson, 1794), 131, 134. See also Monthly Museum (March 1814), 232. Kemble, Macbeth, i.vii.21; i.v.17. On Kemble’s script revisions see Charles Beecher Hogan, Shakespeare in the Theatre, 1701–1800 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957), 363.

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the ‘exterior of profound obligation’ presented by Siddons’ heroine in the presence of the King, which concealed her murderous intent.32 As well as sharing the trait of dissimulation, Marie Antoinette and Lady Macbeth are both portrayed early on as the driving forces behind their husband’s actions. In the summer of 1788, the Morning Herald expressed the prevalent opinion that too many of Louis’ political manoeuvres had been ‘forced by the Queen’s instigation’ and were ‘contrary to his will’.33 Marie Antoinette’s perceived dictatorship over her husband’s public conduct resonates with Siddons’ commanding portrayal of Lady Macbeth. Numerous reviewers note the dominion that Siddons’ character exercised over Macbeth preceding Duncan’s murder. Boaden describes how ‘she assails [Macbeth] with sophistry and contempt and female resolution’ and the playwright and actor James Sheridan Knowles correspondingly remarks that ‘she reproves her vacillating husband and absolutely shames him into resolution’.34 The two women are therefore united further by the ascendancy they hold over their husband’s decisions: like the version of Marie Antoinette depicted in the Morning Herald, Siddons’ Lady Macbeth forces her husband into governmental interventions that oppose his better judgement. While Lady Macbeth and Marie Antoinette are initially connected by their flaws, the characters of both women are subsequently redeemed. As Katherine Binhammer has traced, though criticised in the 1780s and early 90s for her dissimulative and domineering tendencies, after 1793 the Queen appeared in sympathy-inducing portraits as a loyal and devoted wife and frail victim of despair.35 Following the death of Louis XVI and the Queen’s own imprisonment and execution, British loyalists sought to emphasise the barbarity of French radicalism by enhancing the virtue and innocence of its victims. Thus it was that formerly derisive accounts of Marie Antoinette had to be ameliorated.36 During this epoch, emphasis shifted onto Marie Antoinette’s familial sentiments. Images depicting the King’s execution, including Isaac Cruikshank’s The Last Interview between  Jenkin, ‘Mrs Siddons’, 84; Boaden, Memoirs, II:136.  ‘Change in the French Cabinet’, Morning Herald, 1 September 1788, 3. 34  Boaden, Memoirs, II:258; James Sheridan Knowles, Lectures on Dramatic Literature: Macbeth (London: Francis Harvey, 1875), 20. 35  Katherine Binhammer, ‘Marie Antoinette was “One of Us”: British accounts of the Martyred Wicked Queen’, Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, vol. 44 (2003), 234. See also Craciun, Fatal Women, 81. 36  See Binhammer, ‘Marie Antoinette was “One of Us”, 233–256. 32 33

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Louis XVI, King of France, and his Family (1793) and Mather Brown’s The Final Interview of Louis the Sixteenth and his Family (1795) show Marie Antoinette surrounded by her family, visibly distraught at the prospect of her husband’s departure.37 Literary depictions enforce this familial and domesticated characterisation. In Mary Robinson’s Monody to the Memory of the Late Queen of France (1793), the Queen’s ‘domestic virtues’ are seen ‘glitt’ring round the throne’, and in John Bartholomew’s tragedy The Fall of the French Monarchy (1794), Marie Antoinette indicates her ‘domestic turn’ by declaring it her ambition to ‘soothe and solace her lov’d King’, before suffering from a ‘broken heart’ which ‘melts [her] soul’ when she is informed of her husband’s imprisonment.38 These same spousal sentiments are exhibited by Siddons in the latter half of Macbeth. While Pritchard’s Lady Macbeth had consistently displayed ‘indignation, and contempt’ for her husband, Siddons perceived the dynamic between the two characters to alter after Duncan’s death.39 She wrote in her ‘Remarks on the Character of Lady Macbeth’ that while the heroine of the early scenes ‘appears to have known no tenderness’ for her husband, she later ‘devotes herself entirely to the effort of supporting him’.40 In the banquet scene, writes Siddons, ‘we behold for the first time striking indications of sensibility, nay tenderness and sympathy’. Lady Macbeth knows ‘the torment which [Macbeth] undergoes and endeavours to alleviate his sufferings’ by listening ‘to his complaints with sympathising feelings’.41 Corroborating the actress’ execution of these dramatic intentions, Bell notes of this scene that in place of Lady Macbeth’s former ambition, it is now ‘intense love of her husband’ which ‘animate[s] every word’. Her ‘contemptuous reproach’ gives way to ‘sorrow and sympathy with [Macbeth’s] melancholy’, and when her husband is startled by 37  Both images can be viewed via the British Museum’s website. See https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1878-0511-1411 and https://www.britishmuseum. org/collection/object/P_1987-1003-24 38  Mary Robinson, Monody to the Memory of the Late Queen of France (London: T. Spilsbury, 1793), 5; John Bartholomew, The Fall of the French Monarchy; or, Louis XVI. An historical tragedy. In five acts (London: E. Harlow and W. Richardson, 1794), I.iii.9; II.ii.27; IV.v.76. On Robinson’s poem see Amy Garnai, “‘One Victim from the Last Despair”: Mary Robinson’s Marie Antoinette’, Women’s Writing, vol. 12, no. 3 (2005), 388–94. 39  Thomas Davies, Dramatic Miscellanies: consisting of critical observations on several plays by Shakespeare, 3 vols (Dublin: S. Price et al., 1784), II:106. 40  Siddons, ‘Remarks’, 34, 24. 41  Ibid., 22–23.

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the hallucination of Banquo’s ghost, she ‘comes up to him and catches his hand’.42 Depictions of Marie Antoinette as a devoted and domestic wife were accompanied from 1793 by accounts of the Queen’s imprisonment which showed the extremity of her grief to have resulted in physical and mental affliction. Songs delivered at the theatres of Covent Garden and Haymarket in 1793, and a poem printed in The Gentleman’s Magazine that same year (‘Stanzas supposed to be written whilst the late Queen of France was sleeping’), all present Marie Antoinette as a ‘victim of anguish and despair’, who conveys a ‘haggard face’, ‘wan [and] wasted cheek’, and ‘fever’d brain’.43 In each portrayal, Marie Antoinette’s mental anguish is shown to manifest itself in ‘ghastly shapes’ and ‘haggard phantoms’ which ‘haunt the midnight calm’, and prevent the Queen from sleeping.44 At Covent Garden, the figure of Marie Antoinette, embodied by actress and vocalist Anna Maria Crouch, experiences ‘frantic wild affright’ while ‘fancy paints [her] murder’d Lord’ and she sees ‘th’assassin’s blood stain’d sword’.45 Correspondingly, in ‘Stanzas’, the Queen is startled by the ghostly vision of her ‘headless husband, spouting gore’.46 The Queen’s sighting of these Banquo-esque spectres might, on the one hand, be seen to enforce ideas of Marie Antoinette’s complicity in her husband’s death. As Mary Wollstonecraft summarised in 1794, many shared the opinion that the King ‘might have saved his life by regulating his future politics’, had his wife not acquired such ‘unbounded sway’ over his decisions.47 Yet the verses seek not to create animosity for the Queen, but rather to elicit compassion, by emphasising her repentance, sensibility, and piety. Crouch’s Queen heaves ‘the penitential sigh’ as tears fall from her ‘streaming eye’, and her ‘suppliant hands’ are ‘to Heav’n […] spread’.48 Similarly, in  Jenkin, ‘Mrs Siddons’, 91, 93.  ‘Captivity: Supposed to be sung by the Unfortunate Marie Antoinette during her Imprisonment in the Temple’, in The Hampshire Syren: or Songster’s Miscellany (Southampton: T. Skelton, 1794), 121; see also the rival performance at Haymarket, ‘The Captive: Sung by Master Walsh’, in The Scots Magazine, 55 (February 1793), 89; ‘Stanzas supposed to be written whilst the late Queen of France was sleeping’, in The Gentleman’s Magazine, 74 (October 1793), 941. On the songs see Harriet Guest, Unbounded Attachment: Sentiment and Politics in the Age of the French Revolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 56. For similar depictions see John Barrell, Imagining the King’s Death: Figurative Treason, Fantasies of Regicide, 1793–1796 (Oxford: OUP, 2000), 55–58. 44  Crouch, ‘Captivity’, 122; ‘Stanzas’, 941. 45  Crouch, ‘Captivity’, 122. 46  ‘Stanzas’, 941. 47  Wollstonecraft, Historical and Moral View, 135. 48  ‘Captivity’, 122. 42 43

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‘Stanzas’, Marie Antoinette’s heart ‘throbs with cureless woe’, she conveys ‘bitter streams of agony’, and she too prays to ‘thy sainted Lord’ that she might soon hear the ‘heav’nly harmonies’ that will lead her to ‘happier slumbers’.49 By offering these sentimental depictions of the Queen’s suffering and contrition, the verses exonerate Marie Antoinette from her past failings, and leave audiences and readers lamenting her deterioration into sickness and madness. These moving portraits of a devout, mad, and ailing Queen, tortured by phantoms during the night, correspond strikingly with Siddons’ performance of the sleepwalking Lady Macbeth: a figure whose conscience is analogously plagued, during the night, by the sight of ‘so much blood’.50 Indicative of Siddons’ replication of the piety bestowed on Marie Antoinette in contemporary representations, a painting by George Henry Harlow shows Siddons’ sleepwalking Lady Macbeth standing with her hands clasped together and her eyes raised upwards as if in prayer (Fig. 3.1). Moreover, Bell describes Siddons’ character to appear ‘feeble now’, as though ‘preparing for her last sickness and final doom’, and notes her enactment of a ‘convulsive shudder’ accompanied by ‘a tone of imbecility’ which was ‘audible in [her] sigh’.51 Extending these parallels further, Siddons recalls her intention to exhibit a ‘wan and haggard countenance’ in this scene, while her character’s ‘ever restless spirit wanders in troubled dreams’.52 By the final act of Kemble’s production then, Siddons’ character presents a perceptible likeness to sympathetic depictions of Marie Antoinette: while the two women were aligned previously by their exertions of power and vice, they are united now by their correspondent displays of spousal sentiments, religious appeal and mental and physical infirmity. ‘Like an Apparition’: Lady Macbeth and the Ghost of Marie Antoinette Not quite as simple, however, as a straightforward transition from sublime to beautiful, monster to victim, Siddons’ evolving personation of Shakespeare’s heroine maintains to the end some of the fear-inducing  ‘Stanzas’, 941.  Kemble, Macbeth, V.i.56. 51  Jenkin, ‘Mrs Siddons’, 95, 96. 52  Siddons, ‘Remarks’, 33, 31. 49 50

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Fig. 3.1  George Henry Harlow, Mrs Siddons as Lady Macbeth, sleepwalking scene, Act V, from Macbeth by Shakespeare (1814). Courtesy of the Garrick Club, London

qualities that it presented early on. As Heather McPherson has illustrated, in her final scene on stage, Siddons’ Lady Macbeth ‘absolutely horrified’ her audience on account of the ‘preternatural aspect’ that accompanied her appearance.53 Emphasising the terror aroused by Siddons during the sleepwalking scene, Knowles reports: Though pit, gallery and boxes were crowded to suffocation, the chill of the grave seemed about you when you looked on her;—there was the hush and

53  Heather McPherson, ‘Masculinity, Femininity, and the Tragic Sublime: Reinventing Lady Macbeth’, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, vol. 29 (2000), 313, 316.

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damp of the charnel house at midnight; […] your flesh crept and your breathing became uneasy.54

Knowles extends this use of deathly tropes when, alluding to Act 5 scene 3 of Richard III, he exclaims that ‘the tithe of horror that attends the silent woman, Lady Macbeth, walking in her sleep’ is as great as that excited by ‘the ghostly group that enter the tent and surround the couch of Richard’.55 Such imagery of death and supernaturalism dominated contemporary reports of Siddons while sleepwalking: Edwin Mangin described her as having a ‘corpse-like aspect’; Leigh Hunt said she was ‘deathlike’; Boaden claimed that she embodied ‘the majesty of the tomb’; and William Hazlitt recalled how ‘she glided on and off the stage almost like an apparition’.56 These reviews attest to the stark resemblance between Siddons’ sleepwalking heroine and the contemporary stage ghost: a figure that, though rare in 1794, appears in literal and quasi form in two plays debuting at Covent Garden in the months either side of Macbeth.57 Writing of the ghost depicted in his gothic drama Fontainville Forest (CG; 1794), indebted to Ann Radcliffe and premiering in March, Boaden notes that ‘the great contrivance’ was to ‘convert the moving substance into a gliding essence’, a preference recalled in the published play script, which describes how ‘the phantom here glides across the dark part of the chamber’.58  Knowles, Lectures, 21–22.  Ibid., 21. 56  Edwin Mangin, Piozziana; or, Recollections of the late Mrs. Piozzi, with remarks, by a friend (London: Edward Moxon, 1833), 85; Leigh Hunt, ‘Mrs Siddons’s Farewell Performance’, 5 July 1812, in Leigh Hunt’s Dramatic Criticism, 1808–1831, eds. Lawrence Hudson Houtchens and Carolyn Washburn Houtchens (London: OUP, 1950), 72; Boaden, Memoirs, 146; William Hazlitt, ‘Mrs Siddons’, in The Examiner (16 June 1816), reprinted in A View of the English Stage, or, A Series of Dramatic Criticisms, by William Hazlitt, ed. W. Spencer Jackson (London: George Bell and Sons, 1906), 217. 57  On stage ghosts in the 1790s see Michael Gamer, Romanticism and the Gothic: Genre, Reception, and Canon Formation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 127–31; Diego Saglia, ‘Staging Gothic Flesh: Material and Spectral Bodies in Romantic-Period Theatre’, in The Romantic Stage: A Many-Sided Mirror, eds. Lilla Maria Crisafulli and Fabio Liberto (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2014), 163–184; and Robert P.  Reno, ‘James Boaden’s Fontainville Forest and Matthew G. Lewis’s The Castle Spectre: Challenges of the Supernatural Ghost on the Late Eighteenth-Century Stage’, Eighteenth-Century Life, vol.  9 (1984), 95–103. 58  James Boaden, Memoirs of the Life of John Philip Kemble, Esq., 2 vols (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green, 1825), II:117; Boaden, Fontainville Forest: A Play, in five acts (London: Hookham and Carpenter, 1794), III.iv.40. 54 55

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Two months later, in A Sicilian Romance (CG; 1794) by Sarah’s son Henry Siddons, also adapted from Radcliffe, Martin is fooled into believing Alinda to be a ghost when she ‘comes down with a taper’ and presents Martin with the sight of ‘a figure all snow! […] pale as death!’ and illuminated by ‘a light!’59 These depictions of ghosts and quasi-ghosts strongly recall Siddons’ sleepwalking heroine: appearing, as Boaden describes, wrapped in a ‘quantity of white drapery’, and illuminated by ‘a taper’, Siddons ‘glide[s] on and off the stage’ in striking visual fulfilment of Boaden’s ‘great contrivance’ for his own dramatic phantom.60 The ‘white drapery’ worn by Siddons is important not only in enhancing her character’s ghostliness, but in strengthening the allusion to Marie Antoinette. The new clothing designed for the sleepwalking scene in 1794, which Boaden here describes, seems to have been captured in the aforementioned painting by Harlow, and in a further work by Henry Pierce Bone (Fig.  3.2), both of which show the sleepwalking Siddons enveloped from head to foot in a flowing and loose-fitting white gown and veil.61 Popular images depicting Marie Antoinette’s captivity and trial, including those by Robert Sayer (Fig.  3.3) and Domenico Pellegrini (Fig.  3.4), show Marie Antoinette dressed in comparable clothing.62 Allegorically, the veil’s significance is twofold: not only was Marie Antoinette often depicted wearing a veil in images of her trial, but the veil serves also to hide Siddons’ long dark hair, and to give the illusion of a pure white mane. The whitening of Marie Antoinette’s hair, accelerated by distress, was frequently commented on in sympathetic accounts: Crouch’s Marie Antoinette laments that ‘grief has changed [her] flowing hair’, and Robinson likens the Queen’s hair to ‘the Alpine snow’.63 At this point in 59  Henry Siddons, The Sicilian Romance: Or, the Apparition of the Cliffs (London: J. Barker, 1794), III.ii.36, 37. On these plays see Wolfram, ‘Gothic Adaptation’, 46–61; and Diego Saglia, ‘“A Portion of the name”: Stage adaptations of Radcliffe’s fiction, 1794–1806’, in Ann Radcliffe, Romanticism and the Gothic, eds. Dale Townshend and Angela Wright (Cambridge: CUP, 2014), 219–36. 60  Boaden, Memoirs of the Life, II:263; Kemble, Macbeth, V.i.56; Hazlitt ‘Mrs Siddons’, 217; Boaden, Memoirs of the Life, II:117. 61  That Harlow’s painting reflects the 1794 performance is implied by the shading on the actress’ stomach, which gives the impression of pregnancy. Siddons was pregnant during the 1794 rendition of Lady Macbeth. 62  On these images see Guest, Unbounded Attachment, 57–60. 63  Crouch, ‘Captivity’, 121; Robinson, Monody, 9. On Marie Antoinette’s hair see Garnai, “‘One Victim”’, 391; and Judith Pascoe, Romantic Theatricality: Gender, Poetry, and Spectatorship (New York: Cornell, 1997), 106.

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Fig. 3.2  Henry Pierce Bone, The Sleepwalking Scene in Macbeth (1797). © Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund

the play then, Siddons’ heroine looks not only like a ghost, but fundamentally, she presents physical features likening her to Marie Antoinette in her widely documented final moments of life. As such, she is figuratively comparable to the ghost of Hamlet’s father, who, upon his resurrection, appears dressed in ‘the very armour he had on’ while he lived.64 Given audience’s familiarity with this Hamlet-inspired understanding of ghostly  Shakespeare, Hamlet, I.i.4.

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Fig. 3.3  Robert Sayer, Death of Marie Antoinette Queen of France and Navarre (1794). French Revolution Digital Archive. [accessed 11 March 2022]

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Fig. 3.4  Mariano Bovi, engraving after Domenico Pellegrini, The Trial of Marie Antoinette Queen of France October 14, 1793/Proces de Marie Antoinette Reine de France October 14, 1793 (1796). French Revolution Digital Archive. [accessed 12 March 2022]

manifestations, and the parallels formed between Lady Macbeth and Marie Antoinette up to this point in the play, the conflation of the tragedy’s spectral figure with Marie Antoinette’s spirit acquires an extra layer of probability.65 The perceptibility of the allusion is amplified moreover by the analogies detectable between the sleepwalking Lady Macbeth and representations of Marie Antoinette’s ghost circulating off stage. In 1793, a poetic account of the Queen’s ghost, signed with the name ‘Eliza’, appeared in The

65  On Hamlet’s role in popularising understandings of ghosts see ‘A Curious and Whimsical Dissertation on Ghosts’, in The New Wonderful Magazine, 3 (1 April 1794), 137–38.

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Gentleman’s Magazine. The poem describes Marie Antoinette’s apparition in the following terms: And soft! What ghastly shade attracts my sight! Skims o’er the glade with looks of wild affright! […] Oh! My full heart; ’tis Gallia’s hopeless Queen! Distraction, grief and horror in her mien! […] See the poor mourner wildly stare around, talk to the walls and madly strike the ground! […] the quivering lip, short breath and stretched out arm, starting convulsive at each dread alarm. View in terrific forms before her eyes A headless group of shrieking forms arise! […] Oh I am sick!—sick!—sick!—and worn with grief.66

The poem could almost have been written to describe Siddons’ character sleepwalking: like ‘Gallia’s hopeless Queen’, Lady Macbeth’s ‘heart is [so] sorely charged’ that she too produces ‘convulsive shudders’ and ‘horrible’ sighs.67 She too ‘talk[s] to the walls’ when instructing her absent husband to ‘wash [his] hands’ and ‘look not so pale’.68 She is similarly haunted by the ‘terrific forms’ of ‘bleeding victims’, which are ‘for ever present’ in her mind, and she too resembles a ‘ghastly shade’ as she ‘skims o’er’ the stage.69 While Siddons’ Lady Macbeth is ghosted from the outset of the tragedy then by popular representations of the living Marie Antoinette, her behaviour and appearance at this point in the play allow for the production’s quasi-ghost to itself become ghosted by the literal spectre of the late Queen of France.70 Haunted by Marie Antoinette’s apparition, Siddons’ character acquires the potential to communicate to theatregoers two fiercely monarchical meanings: both of which supplant tragic catharsis with emotional unrest, and implore active participation from theatregoers in the crusade against Jacobinism.

66  ‘An Elegy. Written on Reading the Melancholy Separation of the Dauphin from the Queen of France’, in The Gentleman’s Magazine, 63 (November 1793), 1037–1038. On this poem see Pascoe, Romantic Theatricality, 111–13. 67  Kemble, Macbeth, V.i.57; Jenkin, Mrs Siddons, 313. 68  Kemble, Macbeth, V.i.56, 57. 69  Boaden, Memoirs, II:261. 70  Visual similarities to the sleepwalking Siddons are also observable in Ballad. See 19–21.

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‘The Visionary Effects of a Guilty Conscience’ or a Call to ‘Mighty Vengeance’: Complicating Dramatic Closure Recognition of Siddons’ Lady Macbeth as an allegorical representation of the deceased Queen of France endows theatregoers with an active role in Kemble’s drama: they are cast as ghost-seers, and, by extension, as either Macbeth or Hamlet. To theatregoers of former or current revolutionary sympathies, it is the role of Macbeth that is proffered most persuasively. Kemble’s greatest innovation in his 1794 production was the physical removal of Banquo’s ghost from the banquet scene. In his diary, the artist Joseph Farington recalls Kemble’s declaration that he was ‘decidedly not for introducing the figure of Banquo in the feast scene’, as the vision ought to be recognised ‘as the image of [Macbeth’s] disturbed imagination’.71 Reviews of the tragedy confirm the achievement of this desired effect. One journalist described the apparition’s physical absence as confirmation that ‘the troubled spirit [is] visible only to the mind’s eye of the guilty and distracted tyrant’, while the dramatist and theatre commentator Walley Chamberlain Oulton insisted that ‘it is the ghost of the mind, and the appearance of it to the audience’ would have ‘absolutely destroy[ed] the visionary effects of a guilty conscience’.72 As the reviews demonstrate, by refusing to have an actor depict the ghost on stage, Kemble encouraged audiences to recognise the spectre as a mental apparition, visible only to ‘the guilty and distracted’. Theatregoers appreciate that they do not see Banquo’s ghost, as they hold no responsibility for Banquo’s death. Only the guilty see ghosts, and as the audience were innocent spectators of Banquo’s murder, they lack Macbeth’s troubled conscience and do not share his haunting vision. Interpreting ghosts as signifiers of guilt, the production’s pseudo-­ ghost, visible to all spectators, can be read as a figure serving to awaken in revolutionary sympathisers a degree of compunction similar to that experienced by Macbeth. Imitating the ghost of Banquo, the phantom-esque image offers a quasi-projection of the spectator’s own tormented conscience. The spectacular allusion to Marie Antoinette’s ghost forces theatregoers of reformist affiliations, either past or present, to accept implicit culpability for her death. Acknowledging her murder as the repercussion 71  The Diary of Joseph Farington: Vol. XI, January 1811–June 1812, ed. Kathryn Cave, 16 vols (New Haven: Yale UP, 1983), XI:4029. 72  ‘Theatre’, The Times, 22 April 1794, 2; W.C. Oulton, A History of the theatres of London, 2 vols (London: Martin & Bain, 1818), I:93.

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of a movement they had extolled, audiences are imbued with contrition and self-reproach and are impelled to distance themselves entirely from revolutionary principles. Perceived this way, the fusion of Lady Macbeth and Marie Antoinette enables Siddons’ character to function in the sleepwalking scene both as a manifestation of guilt, and as a representation of the guilty: Lady Macbeth haunts the audience through her likeness to the deceased Queen of France, while she herself is haunted by the blood of a murdered monarch. She therefore both prompts and mirrors the emotional experience encountered by the theatregoer: rather than passively observing her display of mental grievance, audiences actively partake in the heroine’s desperation to out the ‘damned spot’ of royal blood, as they are made to recognise, by the heroine’s very image, that their ‘hands are of [her] colour’.73 To theatregoers of a clearer conscience, there is a variant meaning on offer. Exemplifying the contemporary alternative to the mental apparition, of which Banquo is the prototype, Boaden’s Fontainville Forest fashions its apparition in the image of Hamlet’s father, establishing it immediately as a prompt to the virtuous for ‘a great’ and ‘mighty vengeance’.74 Marie Antoinette’s pseudo-apparition can similarly be understood, like Hamlet Senior, as a catalyst for revenge. Unlike Boaden’s ghost, however, she inspires vengeance not against an individual, but against an entire nation. While Kemble’s tragedy was being performed, England was at war with revolutionary France. Enthusiasm for the war was not unanimous, and British loyalists were under pressure to ensure the continued enlistment of troops.75 Siddons’ allusion to Marie Antoinette’s ghost potentially contributes to this purpose. Like the restless spirits depicted in Holland’s ‘Elegy’, Marie Antoinette appears ‘doom’d’ to ‘walk the night’ as her murderers are yet to be reprimanded for their crimes.76 The play’s supernatural spectacle consequently acts as a call to arms against revolutionary France: in order to pacify the ghost of Marie Antoinette, revenge must be sought against Britain’s neighbouring nation, and the surest way to enact such revenge is to defeat the country at war.  Kemble, Macbeth, II.i.26.  Boaden, Fontainville Forest, IV.ii.43. For further examples see Townshend, ‘Gothic and the ghost of Hamlet’, 60–97. 75  See Emma Vincent Macleod, A War of Ideas: British Attitudes to the Wars against Revolutionary France, 1792–1802 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998), 187–95; and Philip Shaw, Romantic Wars: Studies in Culture and Conflict, 1793–1822 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), 4–6. 76  Shakespeare, Hamlet, I.v.15. 73 74

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Read in the context I have proposed, Kemble’s Macbeth becomes a tragedy that fosters in theatregoers strong anti-Jacobin sentiments using an extremely poignant means of coercion. Freighted with surprising allusions to the late Queen of France, both living and dead, Siddons’ character complicates intended and expected forms of closure; both political and theatrical. Contesting the finality attached to Marie Antoinette’s death by the French Republic, the spectacular resurrection of the Queen’s ghost before the British public demands a revised denouement to the drama of the French Revolution, in which closure is equated not with the death of the monarchy, but with the defeat of Jacobinism and its followers. It does so by denying Macbeth’s audiences the anticipated experience of tragic catharsis and rousing instead emotional tension. The desire to relieve such tension implores theatregoers to contribute to the defeat of Jacobinism in one of two ways: either, they must ‘revenge [the Queen’s] foul and most unnatural murder’ by supporting the war effort, or they must ‘wash the blood clean from their hands’ and ‘cleanse the foul bosom of that perilous stuff/which weighs upon the heart’, by retracting their radical sympathies.77

‘A Desp’rate Mother’: The Actress, The Amazon, and Francklin’s Earl of Warwick My analysis of Kemble’s tragedy has proposed that via a conflation of real and fictional Queens, Lady Macbeth is transformed into a potent anti-­ Jacobin symbol serving to coerce audiences into an uncomfortable recognition of ongoing horrors in revolutionary France. In the performance of Margaret of Anjou, to which I now turn, it is the actress herself with whom the ‘ruthless Queen’ is primarily merged, and it is this relationship between actress and character that is largely responsible for furnishing the female warrior with a unique and surprising identity that neutralises the subversive inferences inherent in the script. In The Haunted Stage (2000), Carlson proposes, The common view of theatrical production as the embodiment of a pre-­ existing literary text tends to take the actor as a more or less transparent vehicle for that text, physically congruent with the stated requirements of the text and possessing adequate vocal and physical skills to deliver the text  Shakespeare, Hamlet, I.v.15; Kemble, Macbeth, II.1.25, V.ii.59.

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effectively to the audience. This simplified view, however, does not take into account what the actor creatively adds to the literary text.78

Carlson’s suggestion that the performer is more than a passive medium through whom the words on the page are communicated is focal to this chapter. We have already seen through Siddons’ idiosyncratic rendition of Lady Macbeth the agency which performers’ creative decisions could exercise over characters’ theatrical receptions. In the production now under scrutiny,  however, it is less so the performer’s on-stage actions, than her offstage circumstances, which dictate her character’s theatrical identity. Michael Quinn has proposed that the ‘link between the life of the performer and the knowledge of that life that the audience brings to performance’ encourages audiences, consciously or unconsciously, to merge ‘the actor’s references to the fictional events’ occurring on stage, with those occurring in the performer’s personal life.79 Decisions regarding which aspects of the performer’s life to share with the public are therefore crucial in mediating responses to the theatrical role embodied by the actor: ‘the information transmitted by entertainment news about the actor’s life’, surmises Quinn, is ‘brought to the performance as a way to fund perceptions’, and is capable, in certain instances, of displacing ‘authority from the creative genius of the author’.80 Felicity Nussbaum has shown this interplay between performer and role to acquire particular pertinence in eighteenth-century Britain owing to the vast ‘circulation of celebrity news and gossip’.81 Nussbaum explains that ‘anecdotes circulating about [actresses’] private lives’ received wide dissemination from the early 1700s onwards and constituted ‘an imagined off stage personality’ that ‘served as a theatrical substitute for authentic knowledge’ about the actress’ private self. Access to this knowledge encouraged theatregoers to blend ‘the actress’ putative personality with the assigned character’s emotions and thoughts’ by inspiring them to ‘speculate about which portion of the inner consciousness of the actress was shared with the [fictional]

 Carlson, Haunted Stage, 52–53.  Michael Quinn, ‘Celebrity and the Semiotics of Acting’, New Theatre Quarterly, vol. 6, Issue 22 (May 1990), 156,155. 80  Quinn, ‘Celebrity’, 157, 166. 81  Felicity Nussbaum, Rival Queens: Actresses, Performance, and the Eighteenth-Century British Theatre (Oxford: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), 21. 78 79

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character’.82 The evolution of the press was thereby crucial in making possible an actor-centric model of dramatic reception that could profoundly impact a play’s perceived meaning. While this fusion of performer and role was widely practiced in the early eighteenth century, Helen Brooks argues that efforts ‘to establish a relationship between actresses’ selves and their theatrical performance of character’ intensified in the closing decades of the century, at which point ensuing anxieties about external disguise and disingenuousness, sparked by the development of commercial society, led to redefinitions of selfhood which had inevitable repercussions for contemporary theories of acting.83 The performer had been perceived in prior decades as ‘a delightful Proteus’, capable of ‘wholly transforming himself into his part’.84 Yet attempts made at the close of the century to redefine identity along fixed, stable and internal lines necessitated a revised understanding of the actor’s trade. As Brooks explains, with ‘the earlier mode of performance in which the actor transformed [him/herself] into another’ having become ‘increasingly at odds with prevailing discourse’, the late eighteenth century witnessed ‘a new cultural moment’ that sought to bring ‘character and actress together in one unambiguous and coherent identity’.85 Rather than renouncing their off  stage identities in order to immerse themselves in their theatrical roles, actors’ performances were reconfigured ‘as expressions of their own emotions and authentic selves, through the medium of the character’.86 This newly dominant theory of performance as a divulging  Nussbaum, Rival Queens, 16, 20, 21.  Helen Brooks, Actresses, Gender, and the Eighteenth-Century Stage: Playing Women (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 164. On revised theories of selfhood and their impact on theories of acting see also Lionel Trilling, Sincerity and Authenticity (London: OUP, 1972), 64; E.  J. Hundbert, ‘The European Enlightenment and the History of the Self’, in Rewriting the Self: Histories from the Middle Ages to the Present, ed. Roy Porter (London: Routledge, 1997), 78; Dror Wahrman, The Making of the Modern Self (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), 200–203; Matthew H.  Wikander, Fangs of Malice: Hypocrisy, Sincerity and Acting (Iowa: University of Iowa Press, 2002), 74–76; William Worthen, The Idea of the Actor: Drama and the Ethics of Performance (Surrey: Princeton UP, 1984), 85; Joseph Roach, The Player’s Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting (USA: University of Michigan Press, 1985), 41. See also Shearer West, The Image of the Actor: Verbal and Visual Representation in the Age of Garrick and Kemble (London: Pinter Publishers, 1991), 58–61. 84  Richard Flecknoe, A Short Discourse of the English Stage (1664), cited in Wahrman, Modern Self, 170. 85  Brooks, Actresses, 99. 86  Ibid., 100. 82 83

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art form, in which the actress is recognised not for ‘sinking herself into the character, but rather for foregrounding herself through it’, is pivotal to my interpretation of the 1797 production of Francklin’s Earl of Warwick.87 Sentimentalising the ‘She-Wolf’: Margaret of Anjou on the Eighteenth-Century Stage Like Lady Macbeth, Margaret of Anjou, the French-born medieval warrior Queen of Lancastrian England, found frequent representation on the eighteenth-century British stage. Margaret’s notoriety in Britain was owed centrally to Shakespeare, who had famously presented the figure in his historical tragedy Henry VI. Shakespeare had emphasised the ‘amazonian’ tendencies of his ‘proud Queen’, and described her in thoroughly masculine terms, as ‘stern, obdurate, flinty, rough’ and ‘remorseless’.88 Scholars including Dror Wahrman and David Worrall have contended that the ‘She-wolf of France’ popularised in Shakespeare’s tragedy underwent a radical transformation in late eighteenth-century British drama.89 Wahrman proposes that despite the preservation and even intensification of Margaret’s obduracy and military prowess in early eighteenth-century plays, ‘when Margaret returned to the stage’ at the end of the century, ‘gone was the feisty Amazonian behaviour, gone (almost) was the intrepid female warrior charging to battle, gone was the woman who disguised nature in order to encourage the men to fight.’90 In place of her formerly amazonian and manipulative characteristics, continues Wahrman, precedence was now given to Margaret’s strong maternal sentiments, which ‘completely eclipsed any other aspect of her performance.’91 While Wahrman identifies the ‘gender panic’ sparked by the American Revolution as the catalyst for Margaret’s theatrical reformation, Worrall argues that Margaret’s feminisation on the British stage reached its apex in the 1790s, and responded to events in revolutionary France.92 During this period, theorises Worrall, dramatisations of Margaret’s captivity and separation from her husband ‘spoke powerfully of the fate of Marie Antoinette,’ who, as we have just seen, had become an object of compassion in Britain. As a  Ibid., 98–99.  Shakespeare, Henry VI, part 3, I.vi.105. 89  Ibid., 1.v.111. 90  Wahrman, Modern Self, 15–16. 91  Ibid.,16. 92  See ibid., 3–82. 87 88

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result, Margaret’s character was sentimentalised in British drama in order to enhance audiences’ sympathies for the real life Queen of France.93 Instances of Margaret’s transformation in late eighteenth-century drama from brutal warrior to sentimental mother are observable in plays including George Colman’s The Battle of Hexham (1789); Edward Jerningham’s ‘Margaret of Anjou; An Historical Interlude’ (1777), revised for Covent Garden in 1793; and Richard Valpy’s The Roses: Or King Henry VI (1795). Colman’s musical indicates Margaret’s emotional fragility and maternal tenderness by having her weep on the battlefield out of fear for her son’s safety; Jerningham’s ‘Historical Interlude’ ignores Margaret’s Amazonian qualities entirely and presents her as the archetypal damsel in distress, concerned solely with protecting her son; and Valpy’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy further downplays Margaret’s status as a ‘warlike Queen’ by omitting all scenes in which Margaret herself either speaks of, or partakes in armed conflict, and by providing her with an exhibition of maternal affliction following her son’s death which exceeds that scripted by Shakespeare in both length and emotiveness.94 Given the cultural resonances that a savage French ‘she-wolf’ was likely to evoke in the years succeeding the Terror, maternal and sentimental Margarets were certainly more likely to be tolerated on stage than ominous replicas of Shakespeare’s original ‘amazonian trull’.95 Despite this, plays that reinforced Margaret’s previous characterisation as ‘ruthless’, ‘inexorable’ and ‘inhumane’ did not disappear entirely from London’s patent stage.96 In 1797 Thomas Francklin’s historical tragedy The Earl of Warwick, an adaptation of French dramatist Jean-François de la Harpe’s Le Compte de Warwick (1763), was performed at the Haymarket Theatre, with the obscure actress Sarah Yates—namesake through marriage of the period’s revered performers, Richard and Mary Anne Yates—assuming the role of Margaret.97 As reviews of the script attest, the warrior Queen  Worrall, Celebrity, 183.  See George Colman, The Battle of Hexham, a comedy. In three acts (Dublin: P. Byrne, 1790), I.iv.19; Edward Jerningham, ‘Margaret of Anjou: An Historical Interlude’, in Fugitive poetical pieces (London: J. Robinson, 1778); and Richard Valpy, The Roses: Or King Henry VI, An Historical Tragedy (Reading: Smart and Cowslade, 1795), II.iii.47–48. 95  Shakespeare, Henry VI, part 3, I.vi.105. 96  Ibid., I.vi.106. 97  Before The Earl of Warwick, Sarah Yates performed twice in London in 1794. She belonged to Tate Wilkinson’s Yorkshire circuit for the 1794–1795 season and performed in Bath and Bristol from 1796–7. See Philip Highfill et al. (eds.), A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers, and other Stage Personnel, 16 vols (USA: Southern Illinois UP, 1993), XVI:339. 93 94

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depicted in Francklin’s play was recognised for her resemblance to Shakespeare’s ‘lofty […] commanding’ and ‘spirited matron’.98 Consonant with Shakespeare’s tragedy, Margaret’s quest for vengeance is central to Francklin’s narrative. Margaret’s speech is predominantly made up of powerful expressions of hatred for both Warwick and Edward, the first of whom was instrumental in ‘robb[ing] [her] of a crown’, and the latter having gained that crown.99 Margaret discloses her plan to use Warwick as her ‘instrument’ and ‘necessary tool’, and to ‘make him draw/his trait’rous sword, to sheath it in the breast/of him he loves, then point it to his own’. She claims to have twined herself ‘round his heart’, and, ‘like the fell serpent crept into his bosom/that [she] might sting more surely’.100 Margaret later defines herself as ‘sharp and cruel’, and declares it her duty to ‘judge and punish’, while her enemies ‘hear and tremble’.101 The depiction of Margaret as a ‘haughty Queen’, who has ambitions to ‘conquer men’, claims to ‘enjoy’ scenes of ‘blood and horror’, raises ‘a pow’rful army’, and commits, then boasts of, a ‘base/Blood thirsty, cruel, savage and revengeful’ murder of the eponymous Earl, seems to challenge the contention that Margaret’s ‘Amazonian tendencies were overshadowed’ in performances on the late eighteenth-century stage by her new characterisation as a ‘protective’ and ‘aching mother.’102 This conjecture, however, assumes a congruity between text and performance, which, in 1797, appears to have been dismantled. When Francklin’s tragedy was first performed at Drury Lane in December 1766, Margaret was played by Sarah Yates’ aunt through marriage, the acclaimed tragedienne Mary Anne Yates. Consonant with her renown for depicting the ‘harsh and coarse’ traits of ‘Virago’s characters’, Mary Anne’s rendition of Margaret highlighted the Queen’s ‘grandeur of mind, pride of behaviour’ and ‘resentment of injury’, and added to her repertoire of performances that attempted to overawe her audience, rather than ‘gain the soul’ or ‘steal into the heart’ of her spectators.103 Even when 98  Review of Thomas Francklin’s The Earl of Warwick, in Theatrical Inquisitor and Monthly Mirror 9 (December 1816), 447. 99  Thomas Francklin, The Earl of Warwick: A Tragedy (London: John Bell, 1766), V.iii.69. 100  Francklin, Earl of Warwick, III.i.36. 101  Ibid., V.iii.70, 68. 102  Ibid., V.ii.64; I.i.8, 11; IV.iii.51; V.iii.69; Wahrman, Modern Self, 16. 103  Francis Gentleman, The Theatres: A Poetical Dissection (London: John Bell, 1772), 80; F. B. L., The Rational Rosciad. On a more extensive plan than anything of the kind hitherto published (London: C.  Parker, 1767), 26; Thomas Davies, Memoirs of the Life of David Garrick, Esq. Interspersed with characters and anecdotes of his theatrical contemporaries. 2 vols (Dublin: Joseph Hill, 1780), II:95; F. B. L, Rational Rosciad, 26.

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revived in 1784 by Sarah Siddons, unrivalled in her capacity to move an audience to tears, Francklin’s Margaret continued to be perceived unsympathetically by her London audiences.104 Though one reviewer acknowledged brief moments during Siddons’ performance when ‘the distracted mother breaks through’, Margaret was perceived primarily as a ‘haughty Queen’ who ‘walked as if she trod her enemies beneath’, and conveyed such ‘malicious contempt and indifference’ towards her victims, that she managed to ‘destroy the impression of pity on [the audience’s] minds for [her] distresses’.105 In contrast to the ‘want of the pathetic’ acknowledged in these earlier performances, however, when Francklin’s textually unmodified tragedy was revived for the Haymarket Theatre in 1797, compassion for the Queen dominated the audience’s viewing experience:106 a review printed in the London Chronicle on 9 February 1797 told how Sarah Yates’ portrayal of Margaret ‘was received with much feeling’, and ‘drew tears from almost every eye’.107 On the one hand, it might be proposed that audience’s readiness in 1797 to express condolences for Francklin’s unlikely object of compassion resulted from their familiarity with the newly sentimentalised version of Margaret pervading the British theatre. This argument gains strength from an assessment of the ties formed between Jerningham’s ‘Historical Interlude’ and a condensed three-act version of The Earl of Warwick staged at Covent Garden in 1796.108 In the ’96 production of Francklin’s tragedy, the role of Margaret was played by Elizabeth Pope (nee Younge), an actress regarded at the time as ‘the most valuable woman’ at Covent Garden, and highly regarded for her ability to draw ‘gentle

104  Siddons’ reception therefore clashes with Wahrman’s suggestion that sentimental Margarets dominated after the American Revolution. 105  Lady of Distinction, The Beauties of Mrs Siddons: or a review of her Performance of the characters of Belvidera, Zara, Isabella, Margaret of Anjou, Jane Shore and Lady Randolph (London: John Strahan, 1786), 39, 32, 33, 40, 39. 106  Review of The Earl of Warwick, in The Monthly Review; or Literary Journal 35 (December 1766), 484. 107  London Chronicle, 9 February 1797. 108  Adverts for this shortened tragedy appear in The Sun, 18 May 1796; Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser, 23 May 1796; and Morning Chronicle, 24 May 1796. This condensed version of the play was performed just once, on 24 May. It is unclear which parts of the play were cut. As far as I am aware there are no reviews of this performance which detail Pope’s acting.

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affections’ from the audience, and ‘to guile them of tears’.109 Pope had performed the role of Jerningham’s sentimental Margaret in 1793 and 1794, and, as affirmed in the Oracle, she provided a ‘touching’ portrayal.110 It is feasible to argue that Pope’s moving performance of Jerningham’s Margaret went some way towards refashioning the identity of Francklin’s warrior Queen prior to the 1797 production. To quote again from Carlson, The recycled body of an actor […] will almost inevitably in a new role evoke the ghost or ghosts of previous roles if they have made any impression whatever on the audience, a phenomenon that often colours and indeed may dominate the reception process.111

Ghosted by Pope’s prior performance of Margaret in Jerningham’s ‘Historical Interlude’, audiences’ reception of Francklin’s heroine is liable to be conditioned in 1796 by memories of the ‘weak’ and ‘feeble’ Queen that Pope had formerly embodied.112 Recalling the ‘touching appeals’ exhibited by Pope, regular London theatregoers anticipate and look out for these same pathetic tendencies during her performance in The Earl of Warwick, thus gearing them towards a sympathetic response to Francklin’s warrior Queen. As a result, by the time that Francklin’s tragedy is restaged in 1797, Margaret, having already undergone a process of sentimentalisation, is freighted with a degree of pathos that haunts her rendition by Yates. The repertoire of performances in which Margaret appeared in London throughout the 1790s can certainly be seen to have facilitated a context in which it becomes possible for Yates’ heroine to be ‘received with much feeling’.113 Yet, of potentially transcendent influence over the heroine’s reception, as I want now to argue, is audience’s acquaintance with the circumstances governing Sarah Yates’ performance on the London stage. Adopting the perspective that narratives circulating ‘around actress’ lives’ become ‘interwoven with their dramatic performances’ in the process of reception, my reading makes the case that 109  Oracle, 10 March 1794; Anon., A Trip to Parnassus; or, the Judgment of Apollo on Dramatic Authors and Performers. A Poem (London: John Abraham, 1788), 12. 110  Oracle, 9 May 1794. Pope had also performed this role in the 1770s. On her performances in ‘Historical Interlude’ see Worrall, Celebrity, 184–200. 111  Carlson, Haunted Stage, 8. 112  Jerningham, ‘Historical Interlude’, 6, 3. 113  London Chronicle, 9 February 1797.

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theatregoers’ knowledge of the personal loss suffered by Yates in the summer of 1796 vitally dictates both audience’s perception of Yates as an actress, and Margaret as a character.114 While her private circumstances serve to defend Yates against the charges of unwomanly ambition frequently directed against the eighteenth-­century actress, they concurrently nullify the challenge posed by her character’s military endeavours, by manipulating audiences into perceiving Margaret, like Yates herself, as a desperate and devoted mother. ‘A Most Shocking Circumstance’: A Murder and a Play On 23 August 1796, the General Evening Post printed an article reporting a shooting which had occurred at a home in Pimlico the preceding afternoon. The report read: Yesterday afternoon, between 4 and 5 o’clock, a most shocking circumstance took place at the house of the late Mr. Yates, comedian, on the terrace in Pimlico. Mr [Thomas] Yates, his nephew, after he had dined, took a walk in the garden at the back of the house; on his return to the door, he found it fast, and could not gain admittance till the servant girl formed a plan to get him in at the kitchen window. The persons who were in the house, and had fastened Mr. Yates out, […] went into the kitchen, and finding that Mr. Y was likely to gain admittance, one of them fired a pistol, the ball from which entered right side of Mr. Y. […] Three persons who were in the house were secured, one of whom is a young woman. […] Mr. Yates […] was living at the time of the examination, […] but supposed to be mortally wounded.115

Lieutenant Thomas Yates, the subject of the report, was Sarah Yates’ husband, who died shortly after the shooting.116 Mr. Yates’ murder came as a result of a dispute over the rightful ownership of the house in Pimlico, which had previously belonged to Thomas’ uncle, the famous comedian Richard Yates. Elizabeth Jones, the ‘young woman’ mentioned in the report, had been an actress in Richard Yates’ theatre company in  Nussbaum, Rival Queens, 10.  General Evening Post, 20 August 1796. 116  See ‘City of Westminster’s Coroner’s inquests into suspicious deaths’, 24 August 1796. Westminster Abbey Muniment Room. London Lives, 1690–1800 , WACWIC652360498 [22 March 2015]. 114 115

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Birmingham, and believed that she was the rightful inheritor of the home.117 Thomas Yates was adamant that he too had a claim to the house, and in the absence of legal documents confirming either way, both Jones and Yates inhabited the home together for a period of several months.118 Sarah Yates had been living in Bath, where she was employed as a provincial actress. It was the day after Sarah joined her husband in Pimlico that the murder took place. On the night of 21 August, two men (Sellers and Footney) were sent by an Attorney to the home in Pimlico, with the supposed intention of looking after Miss Jones.119 Both men considered Jones to be the rightful owner of the house, and, on 22 August, shortly after the heavily pregnant Sarah Yates went out in a coach to get some air, Sellers and Footney locked Thomas Yates out of the house, and when he tried to re-enter, Sellers shot him dead.120 Thomas Yates’ death left Sarah with a number of children to look after, and another on the way.121 In direct response to her husband’s murder, permission was given by the Lord Chamberlain for The Earl of Warwick to be performed at George Colman’s Haymarket Theatre, outside of its regular summer season, for the benefit of Mrs. Yates.122 Yates had previously acted Francklin’s Margaret in performances staged at York and Bath in 1795 and 1796. It was a role with which, in the provinces, Yates had made a name for herself, and it was presumably for this reason that it was selected 117  See Bell’s Weekly Messenger, 18 September 1796; Morning Chronicle, 17 September 1796. On Jones’ acting career see Highfill et  al. (eds.),  Biographical Dictionary, VIII:232–233. Jones is recorded to have performed just once in London in 1794. 118  See Evening Mail, 16–19 September 1796. 119  An account given in Bell’s Weekly Messenger, 18 September 1796, states that Mr. Yates had once attacked Miss Jones with a poker and knocked her to the floor. 120  See Evening Mail, 16–19 September 1796. 121  On 27 August 1796, the Morning Post and Daily Advertiser claimed Sarah to be ‘far advanced in her pregnancy of a sixth child’. Yet, in an interview with Mr. Aaron Graham, a family friend, it was remarked that Yates had just two children. See ‘John Sellers, Old Bailey Defendant’, in ‘Old Bailey Proceedings: Accounts of Criminal Trials’, 14 September 1794, Harvard University Library. London Lives, 1690–1800 , t17960914–5 [24 March 2015]. 122  Haymarket’s Royal patent was valid only during the summer season. However, permission was given by the Lord Chamberlain on exceptional occasions for benefit performances to be staged at Haymarket out of season, particularly for charitable causes. See Charles Beecher Hogan, The London Stage, 1776–1800: A Critical Introduction (Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1968), cxxxii. See also William J.  Burling, The Summer Theatre in London, 1661–1820: The Rise of the Haymarket Theatre (Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2000).

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for her benefit performance in London.123 Inviting the widowed Yates to London to perform the role of a savage and bloodthirsty French woman carried with it two potential risks: first, Yates’ decision to leave her children without a parent in her hometown of Bath, in order to perform in the prestigious London arena, rendered her liable to accusations of unwomanly ambition and domestic neglect. Second, Yates’ portrayal of a heroine who, like Lady Macbeth, resembled the ‘Gallic Freaks’ evocative of revolutionary chaos, threatened to sit uncomfortably with gender conservatives and political loyalists, who feared British women’s emulation of their ‘unsex’d’ neighbours.124 Each of these risks were annulled, however, by the publicity given to Yates’ private circumstances in both an address delivered at the close of The Earl of Warwick, and in advertisements printed in British newspapers prior to the tragedy’s revival. ‘To You the Little Innocents Appeal’: Unfeminine Ambition and Maternal Duty The understanding that women who aspired to act on the Georgian stage nurtured a ‘professional ambition’ considered a ‘refusal’ or ‘perversion’ of ‘normal feminine sexuality’ has been widely explored in eighteenth-­ century theatre scholarship.125 While it was the province of men to aspire to greatness and to establish themselves in the public world, women were praised for their modesty, reserve, and contentment in their private setting. Hence, in his Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex (1797), Thomas Gisborne instructed his readers that ‘female ambition’ is acceptable only when directed towards ‘attaining those virtues which are the principal ornaments of your sex. Cherish your instructive modesty: and  See Highfill et al. (eds.), Biographical Dictionary, XVI:339. On Yates’ career in Bath see Arnold Hare (ed.), Theatre Royal Bath, The Orchard Street Calendar 1750–1805 (Bath: Kingsmead Press, 1977), 161. As far as I am aware there are no surviving reviews that detail Yates’ acting in these provincial performances. 124  Richard Polwhele, The Unsex’d Females: A Poem, addressed to the author of The Pursuits of Literature (London: Cadell and Davies, 1798), 7. 125  Kristina Straub, Sexual Suspects: Eighteenth-Century Players and Sexual Ideology (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1992), 98. See also Nussbaum, Rival Queens, 1–30; and Gill Perry, ‘Ambiguity and Desire: Metaphors of Sexuality in Late Eighteenth-Century Representations of the Actress’, in Notorious Muse, ed. Asleson, 57–80. 123

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look upon it as your highest commendation not to be the subject of public discourse’.126 Acknowledging that ‘women in any profession were subject to suspicion for their unwomanly ambition’, Celestine Woo proposes that the actress’ public aspirations ‘needed to be countered with vigorous assurances’ of ‘femininity in other areas’.127 By the final quarter of the century, these assurances were most commonly provided by the actress’ depiction of herself as a loving and devoted mother.128 The image of the actress and that of the maternal ideal were in one sense entirely incompatible: the very nature of her profession required the actress to abandon the home in favour of the stage on a regular basis. As a consequence, the actress was frequently accused of abnegating her maternal duties and being a bad mother. An instance of this charge is illustrated in Ann Catherine Holbrook’s memoirs The Dramatist (1809), in which the author declares, An actress can never make her children comfortable; […] the poor infants, when the theatre calls, must be left in the care of some sour old woman, who shakes and scolds them into fits.129

As Holbrook suggests, the performing mother necessarily sacrificed her familial loyalties in order to maintain, and advance, her theatrical career. Unable to be in two places at once, the mother had to choose between the theatre and the home, the public and the private, and if she chose the 126  Thomas Gisborne, An Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex (London: T. Cadell jun. and W.  Davies, 1797), 326. Gisborne quotes the advice given by Pericles in Book II of Thucydides. This passage was regularly reproduced in eighteenth-century conduct literature. See for instance the anonymously authored The Female Aegis; or the Duties of Women from childhood to old age, and in most situations of life, exemplified (London: Sampson Low, 1798), 121–122. 127  Celestine Woo, Romantic Actors and Bardolatry: Performing Shakespeare from Garrick to Kean (New York: Peter Lang, 2008), 89. 128  On actresses and maternity see Elaine McGirr and Laura Engel (eds.), Stage Mothers: Women, Work, and the Theatre, 1660–1830 (Lewisburg: Bucknell UP, 2014); and Chelsea Philips, Carrying all Before Her: Celebrity, Pregnancy, and the London Stage, 1689–1800 (Lewisburg: Bucknell UP, 2022). 129  Ann Catherine Holbrook, The Dramatist, or Memoirs of the Stage (Birmingham: Martin and Hunter, 1809), 60. For further examples see Helen Brooks, ‘“The Divided Heart of the Actress”: Late Eighteenth-Century Actresses and the Cult of Maternity’, in Stage Mothers, eds. McGirr and Engel, 19–42.

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former, she could expect to be indicted for sexual transgression and maternal neglect. Despite the evident discrepancies between the ambitious eighteenth-­ century actress and the devoted mother, however, the two roles were not irreconcilable. As Brooks has observed, ‘rather than being contradictory, the image of the actress as a “good mother” and her professional identity’ were able to work ‘together to offer a more complex image of maternity’ in which being a good mother was ‘compatible with economic and physical labour’.130 If the actress could prove her professionalism to be fuelled by maternal incentives, she could evade accusations of unwomanly ambition and domestic abandonment, by negotiating a symbiotic relationship between her success as an actress, and her duties to her children. Nowhere was this demonstrated more explicitly in the late eighteenth century than in Siddons’ famous ‘Three Reasons’ speech, delivered at the Theatre Royal Bath in 1782 to justify the actress’ move to London. Following her performance in Ambrose Philips’ The Distressed Mother (1712), a visibly pregnant Siddons was joined on stage by her three young children, while she spoke the lines, These are the moles that heave me from your side, […] Ye little magnets, whose strong influence draws Me from a point where every gentle breeze Wafted my bark to happiness and ease; Sends me advent’rous on a larger main, In hopes that you may profit by my gain! – Have I been hasty? Am I then to blame? Answer all ye who own a parent’s name.131

As Jan MacDonald has suggested, the speech fashions Siddons ‘as a good and caring mother who in happier circumstances would have shunned public life and relished domesticity, but whom financial restraints had forced into employment in the theatre in order to support the  Brooks, ‘“Divided Heart”’, 35.  ‘An Address: Written and Spoken by Mrs. Siddons, when she Produced to the Audience her Three Reasons for Quitting the Bath Theatre’, in The Scots Magazine 45 (January 1783), 41. 130 131

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offspring she adored’.132 Owing to her husband’s tendency to ill health, Siddons was the main provider of her family’s income.133 Placed under pressure to secure independently her family’s financial stability, Siddons’ advancement of her public profession was requisite to her role as a good mother. As her address insists, it is not for herself that she is becoming ‘advent’rous on a larger main’ but for the benefit of her children, who she appreciates will ‘profit by [her] gain’. With her deviation from feminine norms pictured as an extension of her indefatigable loyalty to her family, Siddons’ biographer, Thomas Campbell, was later able to declare that Siddons’ success as an actress derived in large part from her being ‘too affectionate a mother not to be anxious for the gains that were to secure [her children’s] independence’.134 As Campbell’s statement infers, Siddons’ career choice was viewed not as a rejection of her maternal loyalties, but as an active reinforcement of them. Just as Siddons was under pressure to defend her motives when deserting Bath for the London stage in 1782, the widowed Yates could similarly be accused of unwomanly ambition when she acted in London in 1797. Leaving her children parentless in Bath to perform in the acclaimed London arena, Yates was liable to the very criticisms levelled against Holbrook’s acting mother, as she too proved willing to place her children in the hands of a non-parental guardian as soon as ‘the theatre call[ed]’. Yates is favourably distinguished from Holbrook’s image, however, via a form of self-dramatisation strikingly reminiscent of that employed by Siddons a decade previously. Added to the 1797 performance of The Earl of Warwick was an address spoken by Yates, alerting audiences to her status as a widowed mother. Returning to the stage at the close of the play, dressed in mourning garb, Yates delivered the lines,

132  Jan MacDonald, ‘Acting and the Austere Joys of Motherhood: Sarah Siddons performs Maternity’, in Extraordinary Actors: Studies in Honour of Peter Thompson, eds. Jane Milling and Martin Banham (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2004), 62. On Siddons and motherhood see also Linda Buchanan, ‘Sarah Siddons and her Place in Rhetorical History’, Rhetorica: A Journal of the History of Rhetoric, vol. 25, no.  4 (Autumn 2007), 428–434; Brooks, Actresses, 117–141; Brooks, ‘“Divided Heart”’, 19–42; Shearer West, ‘The Public and Private Roles of Sarah Siddons’, in A Passion for Performance: Sarah Siddons and her Portraitists, ed. Robyn Asleson (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1999), 1–39; and Woo, Romantic Actors, 99–100. 133  See MacDonald, ‘Acting’, 62. 134  Campbell, Life of Mrs Siddons, I:133–134.

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Fain would I speak:—alas! these rising tears Must plead the Orphan’s cause, the Widow’s tears. To you, the little innocents appeal, And lift their trembling hands with grateful zeal: Robb’d of a parent, ere they knew his worth, Each pleasing prospect clouded in its birth; Oh, may their hard and hapless lot attain Your kind protection.135

As in Siddons’ ‘Three Reasons’, attention is turned towards Yates’ dedication to her family. It is not the masculine desire for public approbation that has positioned Yates on the London stage, but rather, her desperation to provide independently for her ‘little innocents’ who have been subjected to a ‘hard and hapless lot’ since being ‘Robb’d of a parent’. Exemplifying Ellen Donkin’s observation that throughout the eighteenth century ‘family emergency was a necessary precondition for many women to justify their venturing outside the home’, both Siddons and Yates cultivate images of themselves as self-reliant parents, impelled to advance in their public careers through no choice of their own, but through the necessities of familial circumstance.136 Like Siddons, Yates cannot be accused of unfeminine ambition, as her appearance at the London theatre has been dictated involuntarily by maternal obligation. These same maternal sentiments that secure Yates’ respectability as an actress simultaneously condone her character’s foray into battle. Theatregoers’ knowledge of Yates’ private grief was not withheld until the end of The Earl of Warwick. Rather, the actress’ domestic situation was communicated previously in advertisements for the tragedy. Newspaper articles publicising the play emphasised Yates’ recent widowhood, and exhorted audiences to attend the tragedy with the express aim of ‘succour[ing] the distresses of [Mr. Yates’] widow and orphan children’.137 Announcing the upcoming production on 7 February 1797, an article printed in the Oracle and Public Advertiser read,

135  ‘Occasional Address, Spoken by Mrs. Yates, After the Tragedy of The Earl of Warwick. By Mr. Roberts, the Artist’, in The True Briton, 11 February 1797. 136  Ellen Donkin, Getting into the Act: Women Playwrights in London, 1776–1829 (New York: Routledge, 1995), 14. 137  London Chronicle, 9 February 1797.

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With the circumstances attending the death of her husband the public are sufficiently acquainted. […] They interested all who could feel for misfortune. […] The widow of Mr Yates is shut out from the pecuniary provision that was concluded to have been made for her. […] Mrs Yates has powers as an actress; the public are never insensible to suffering merit, fairly submitted to their humanity. On Thursday therefore, at Colman’s Theatre in the Haymarket, The Earl of Warwick will be performed […] for her benefit.138

As with the address, the advert assures readers of Yates’ feminine propriety, despite her public occupation, by illuminating her need to compensate for the ‘pecuniary provision’ from which both she and her children have been ‘shut out’. It is not simply the perception of Yates as an actress which is determined by the advert, however, but the perception of her character, too. In the context of late eighteenth-century acting theory, the emphasis placed on Yates’ personal ‘misfortune’ preconditions theatre audiences to pity her character before the performance has even begun. Anticipating Margaret’s embodiment of the actress’ genuine affliction, to which ‘all who [can] feel’ cannot be ‘insensible’, audiences premeditate a response to Yates’ character which befits the ‘suffering’ performer, regardless of the role she is set to exhibit on stage. The performance is thereby ghosted by the version of the actress presented in the press, from whom the play’s heroine cannot be detached. A similar advertisement for the tragedy was printed in the Morning Chronicle on 8 February. Again foregrounding Yates’ domestic grief, the advert declared, The public cannot have forgot the melancholy catastrophe of Mr Yates. His death devoted his widow and his family to ruin; […] A play is to be performed for their benefit tomorrow evening, at the Haymarket Theatre, in which Mrs. Yates is herself to appear in the principal character. We sincerely hope that she will experience in public kindness some consolation for her heavy loss.139

Implored to show ‘kindness’ and ‘consolation’ to the actress following her ‘heavy loss’, audiences’ expectations are once more geared towards the pathetic: the audience attend the theatre envisaging not the exhibition of a savage and villainous Queen, but the emotional outpourings of an  Oracle and Public Advertiser, 7 February 1797.  Morning Chronicle, 8 February 1797.

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afflicted widow and struggling mother. Consequently, the aspects of Margaret’s identity which are aligned most closely with this anticipated characterisation strike a chord with the audience: keen to detect in Margaret sentiments that allude explicitly to Yates’ own situation, audiences dwell upon Margaret’s expressions of familial distress more than they do her fierceness, and her sentimental protestations of maternal anxiety resultantly overshadow her unfeminine attributes. With these performance expectations in mind, I now return to Francklin’s script with the aim of demonstrating Margaret’s potential to be interpreted, in accordance with Yates, as a grieving wife and unflinchingly loyal mother. ‘Weeping Mothers Shall Applaud’: Merging the Actress and the Amazon Francklin’s Margaret encapsulates the surprising kinship between the eighteenth-century actress and the contemporary female warrior. On the one hand, Margaret’s vengeful actions align her with the selfishly ambitious actress who is hungry for fame and public approbation. Margaret is described by Warwick as an ‘enterprising woman’ whose ‘active mind is ever on the wing/in search of fresh expeditions to recover/the crown she lost’.140 Consonant with this, Margaret’s motivation to have Warwick and Edward killed is shown to rise fundamentally from her desire to win back the authority she held before Warwick ‘robb’d her of a crown, / and plac’d it on a proud usurper’s head’.141 Intimating her lust to regain her queenly privileges, Margaret confesses that ‘crowns / are dazzling meteors in a woman’s eye; such strong temptations, few of us, /I fear, have virtue to resist’.142 She later informs Clifford of her desire to see ‘one or both’ of her enemies fall, so that ‘Marg’ret [shall] rise triumphant on their ruin’, before expressing her aspiration to regain ‘the throne of England’, and grow ‘superior in the lists of fame’.143 Driven by the wish of establishing herself as ‘the people’s idol’, and declaring that there is nothing that ‘unrestrained ambition will not do,’ Margaret raises ‘a pow’rful army’, and

 Francklin, Earl of Warwick, IV.ii.50.  Ibid., V.iii.69. 142  Ibid., II.iii.32. 143  Ibid., I.i.11; II.iii.35. 140 141

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‘elate with pride’ and ‘almost sure of victory’, enters into battle with Edward’s troops.144 While this characterisation of Margaret likens her to the unfeminine actress, whose actions are motivated by yearnings for public notoriety, it is possible to locate in Margaret a concurrent, though less explicit affiliation with the respectable and selfless eighteenth-century actress, whose public role is fuelled by maternal incentives. Margaret’s savage proclamations of merciless ambition are sparingly interspersed with tender references to her young son. Early on in the play, Margaret hints at her strong motherly sentiments, when demanding King Edward that he must ‘give me back my son—/or dread the vengeance of a desp’rate mother’.145 Later, when Clifford asks Margaret ‘what becomes of the young Prince?’ Margaret again evidences her maternal concerns, when begging nature to ‘hear/a Mother’s prayer!’ and to ‘teach [her] how to save [her] darling boy’.146 While occupying less room in the text than Margaret’s expressions of rage and ruthlessness, the Queen’s referrals to her son imply that her masculine behaviour is not entirely destitute of feminine motivation: the war she goes on to wage against Edward’s troops seeks not only to restore ‘Lancaster’s great name’, but also to ‘save [her] darling boy’ from Edward’s captivity.147 Margaret’s characterisation as a ‘desp’rate mother’ is conveyed most overtly following the battle against Edward’s army, during which her son is killed by Warwick. Her child’s murder at the hands of the protagonist provides Margaret with a dual cause for vengeance, which again amalgamates unfeminine covetousness with maternal affection, and, in this case, bereavement: justifying her slaughter of the man who has not only left her ‘bereft of honour’ and ‘fortune’, but has also ‘basely murther’d [her] sweet boy’, Margaret declares, Thou wilt call me base, Blood thirsty, cruel, savage and revengeful, But here I stand acquitted to myself,  Ibid., III.i.36; IV.ii.51; V.ii.63.  Ibid., I.ii.13. 146  Ibid., III.i.38. 147  Ibid., II.vi.35. 144 145

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And evr’y feeling heart that knows my wrongs. – To late posterity dethroned Queens And weeping mothers shall applaud my justice.148

Margaret’s brutal slaughter of Warwick is incited by his role in positioning her as a ‘dethroned Queen’ and a ‘weeping mother’. The binary incentives prompting the murder govern Margaret’s resemblance to both the subversive eighteenth-century actress, who seeks public praise and power, and the dutiful acting mother, who reluctantly transgresses feminine norms in order to fulfil her maternal responsibilities. If, in previous performances, Margaret had been tied most closely to the former figure, as ‘the distracted mother’ had been obfuscated by ‘the fell serpent’, in 1797, the case was reversed, and it was not ‘the haughty Queen’, but the ‘desp’rate mother’, that took centre stage.149 The details of Yates’ domestic circumstances published in the newspapers encourage audiences to view Margaret’s conduct through a sentimental lens. As such, in her opening scene, theatregoers shock at Margaret’s communication of her savage ‘hope of vengeance’ and her plan ‘to conquer men’ is subordinate to the pity they feel when she references the ‘dark cloud of grief’ and lists herself among ‘the daughters of affliction’: these melancholy expressions stand out when delivered by Yates, as the audience recognise the authentic foundation from which the emotions spring.150 Similarly, while Warwick is being artfully ‘flatter’d, sooth’d, provok’d/and wrought’ to Margaret’s purpose, the audience is less appalled by Margaret’s dissimulation, than it is moved by her communication of spousal grief: Margaret’s claim during the dialogue that she has grown ‘inur’d to wretchedness’ and ‘familiar with misfortune’ since Henry was consigned to ‘languish in a dungeon’, enables the audience to blend Henry’s imprisonment with Thomas Yates’ death, and thus to conflate the ‘life of woe’ described by Margaret, with that experienced by Yates.151 By extension, when Margaret beholds ‘the pale corse of [her] poor bleeding child’, then draws ‘a poniard forth, and plung[es] it in [Warwick’s] heart’, audiences interpret her not as a ‘base,/Blood thirsty, cruel’ and ‘savage’ Amazon, but rather, like Yates herself, as a relentlessly loyal and ‘desp’rate mother’, who, having been deprived of a husband, must herself venture  Ibid., V.iii.69.  Lady of Distinction, The Beauties of Mrs Siddons, 39; Francklin, Earl of Warwick, V.ii.64; I.ii.13. 150  Francklin, Earl of Warwick, I.i.8, 7, 8. 151  Ibid., III.i.35; II.v.28, 33. 148 149

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into the public sphere and transgress sexual boundaries for the sake of her ‘little innocents’. Essentially, while informing audiences of Yates’ familial devotion subsequent to the performance ensures Yates’ own reputation as a maternal and respectable actress, the circulation of these same details prior to the performance dictates Margaret’s characterisation as a family-oriented, and therefore acceptably feminine, female warrior. In 1790, The Aberdeen Magazine printed the article ‘On Fortitude’, written by James Beattie. Describing two contrary types of martial woman, Beattie declared that, Masculine boldness in a woman is disagreeable; the term virago conveys an offensive idea. The female warriors of antiquity […] were unamiable personages. […] But female courage exerted in defence of a child, [or] a husband […] would be true fortitude, and deserve the highest encomiums.152

Beattie makes a clear distinction here between the ‘disagreeable’ and ‘offensive’ female warrior, who, like the ‘unsexed’ women of France, shuns the character peculiar to her sex, and the commendable female soldier, whose military actions indicate her loyalty and dedication to her family. On account of casting choices, it is the latter figure with whom Francklin’s Margaret is aligned. Aware of Yates’ genuine domestic suffering, Margaret’s parallel sentiments elicit a superlative emotional response from theatregoers, who forget that it is Margaret, and not indeed Yates, towards whom their sympathies are being directed. As in Nussbaum’s theory, ‘the actress’ character on stage’ is ‘confused with the woman herself’, and both Yates and Margaret become objects of compassion, whose unwomanly actions are seen not to prohibit, but contrarily, to enable the fulfilment of their familial duties.153 With the real and the illusory having fused together, Margaret evades association with the ‘unamiable’ virago, in the same way that Yates escapes alignment with the ambitious eighteenth-century actress: in the case of each figure, it is maternal affection, as opposed to masculine aspiration, which is foregrounded as the primary catalyst for public exertion. This chapter has exemplified through Siddons’ Lady Macbeth and Yates’ Margaret of Anjou the tendency during the 1790s for arms-bearing 152  James Beattie, ‘On Fortitude’, in The Aberdeen Magazine, Literary Chronicle and Review, 1788–1790, 3 vols (Aberdeen: J. Chalmers, 1790), III:107. Family-oriented warriors are discussed further in Chap. 4. 153  Nussbaum, Rival Queens, 45.

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heroines to be furnished on stage with ambiguous and multi-layered meanings. Embedded beneath the characters’ surface appearances as troubling embodiments of revolutionary energy are intricate and unlikely allusions to loyalist and appropriately feminine subjects. While the unsexed and regicidal Lady Macbeth acquires an astonishing likeness to the haunting apparition of Marie Antoinette, and serves as a powerful deterrent of Jacobin sentiments, the ferocious Amazonian Queen Margaret of Anjou is conflated with Sarah Yates herself, and becomes an admirably selfless and sentimental mother. Haunted by literal and metaphorical ghosts of internationally and locally significant figures, these heroines project identities on stage that depend wholeheartedly on the specific temporal and theatrical contexts in which they are portrayed and received. These once ‘ruthless Queen[s]’ thereby attest to the remarkable potential for female warriors of the past to communicate new-fangled meanings when transported from prior dramatic settings into new and distinct theatrical environments. It was not only historical and fictional women warriors, however, whose representations were intricately manipulated on the British Romantic stage. In the next chapter, I turn my attention to theatrical negotiations of the most notorious murderess of the French Revolutionary years: the dagger-­ brandishing Charlotte Corday.

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CHAPTER 4

‘The Merit of her Patriotism’: Charlotte Corday in British Drama, 1794–1804

On 13 July 1793, Charlotte Corday, a twenty-five year old republican woman from Caen, Normandy, stabbed and killed the Jacobin leader Jean-Paul Marat, while he sat naked in his bath tub, nursing a skin disease.1 The assassination of Marat was politically inspired. Corday’s loyalties lay with the Girondins, a loosely aligned political faction made up of moderate republicans who advocated a constitutional government. Marat belonged to the radical Montagnard faction, who were engaged in a violent struggle to overthrow the Girondins, on account of the latter’s disapproval of the bloody turn that the revolution had taken.2 Corday 1  On the murder see Lucy Moore, Liberty: The Lives and Times of Six Women in Revolutionary France (London: Harper Perennial, 2007), 196-199; Simon Schama, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution (London: Penguin Books, 1989), 729-731, 734-741; Chantal Thomas, ‘Heroism in the Feminine: The Examples of Charlotte Corday and Madame Roland’, in The French Revolution 1789-1989: Two Hundred Years of Rethinking, ed. S.  Petrey (Lubbock: Texas Tech, 1989), 69-72; Catherine R.  Montford and Nina Corazzo, ‘Charlotte Corday: Femme Homme’, in Literate Women and the French Revolution of 1789, ed. Montford (USA: Summa Publications, 1994), 33-35; and Madelyn Gutwirth, The Twilight of the Goddesses: Women and Representation in the French Revolutionary Era (New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1992), 293. 2  On the Jacobin/Girondin conflict see Patrice Higonnet, Goodness beyond Virtue: Jacobins during the French Revolution (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1998), 35-44; Schama, Citizens, 715-718; and Moore, Liberty, 174-177.

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023 S. Burdett, The Arms-Bearing Woman and British Theatre in the Age of Revolution, 1789-1815, Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-15474-4_4

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killed Marat to protect her compatriots, or, to use her own words, ‘to deliver [her] country from a conspiring monster’.3 She was aware that she would be guillotined for her crime, yet she was not deterred. In a letter addressed to fellow Girondin Charles Barbaroux, written from her cell, Corday declared that ‘she that saves her country never minds what it costs’, before proudly listing herself, along with Brutus, as one of few ‘true patriots who know how to die for their country’.4 By comparing herself to Brutus, Corday demonstrated explicitly her devotion to the republican cause. Brutus was heralded in revolutionary France as the quintessential patriot and defender of the nation whose behaviour and moral calibre all French citizens should aspire to emulate.5 And yet, following her murder of Marat, it was rarely as a heroic republican patriot that Corday was presented by her contemporaries. Following Marat’s assassination, Corday’s representation in the public imagination took on a range of forms. French radicals, whose hostility towards Corday was fuelled by their loyalty to Marat, commonly presented her as a detestable and monstrous she-devil. On 20 July 1793, Jacobin Deputy Fabre d’Eglantine, writing on behalf of the revolutionary government in Gazette de France Nationale, chastised Corday for throwing ‘herself outside her sex’ by allowing her ‘philosophic mania’ and concern with ‘the politics of nations’ to strip her of the feminine characteristics of ‘sentimental love and its soft emotions’. He closed by warning that ‘sensible and amiable men do not like women of this type’, and defined Corday as ‘a remarkable example of the seal of reprobation with which nature stamps those women who renounce the temperament, the character, the duties, the tastes and the inclinations of their sex’.6 As d’Eglantine’s 3  From account of Corday’s trial, trans. and published in Finn’s Leinster Journal, 17 August 1793. 4  Letter from Corday to Charles Barbaroux, printed in London Chronicle, 1 August 1793. 5  On Brutus and revolutionary France see Dorinda Outram, The Body and the French Revolution: Sex, Class, and Political Culture (New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1989), 77-79; Edward Andrew, Imperial Republics: Revolution, War and Territorial Expansion from the English Civil War to the French Revolution (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 140-166; Higonnet, Goodness,138-139; Jesse Goldhammer, The Headless Republic: Sacrificial Violence in Modern French Thought (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005), 34; and Cecilia Feilla, The Sentimental Theatre of the French Revolution (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), 164. 6  Gazette de France Nationale, 20 July 1793, trans. and quoted in Michael Marrinan, ‘Images and Ideas of Charlotte Corday: Texts and Contexts of an Assassination’, Arts Magazine - New York, vol. 54, issue 8 (April 1980), 161.

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criticism suggests, Corday’s sex offered the Jacobins the most effective means of articulating their outrage at Marat’s death. By appealing to her gender, the Jacobins were able to depict Corday’s crime as fundamentally wrong, as entirely unnatural: had the laws of nature been obeyed, Corday would not have abandoned her sex, and Marat would not have been killed. It was not only Marat’s supporters who were troubled by Corday’s ‘philosophic mania’, but his enemies too. The prevalent loyalism in Britain following the outbreak of Terror in France meant that, by the time of his death, Marat was largely perceived in Britain with abhorrence.7 Though a French republican, Corday’s extermination of the Montagnard’s leader and chief British foe, meant she could be imagined to embody loyalist British sentiments. In their effort to mould her into a conservative icon, Marat’s British enemies often ignored Corday’s affiliation with the Girondins entirely and presented her as an anglicised enemy of French republicanism.8 In his caricature The heroic Charlotte La Cordé, upon her trial (1793) [Fig. 4.1], James Gillray has Corday’s three condemning judges seated on a throne on which is inscribed the words ‘Vive la Republique’. The gaping crowd wear liberty caps, and the figure of justice stamps on a crown, indicative of Corday’s royalist sympathies. While Corday appears matronly and robust, Marat’s naked body has been rendered so thin by illness that his ribs are clearly visible. The contrast in size and stature between the two figures assists Corday’s anglicisation by recalling the trend among British caricaturists to juxtapose images of stout and well-fed Britons with starving and emaciated French reformers.9 The caption to the image further distances Corday from French radicalism: Gillray 7  See for instance The Anti-Levelling Songster. Number 1 (London: J. Downes, 1793), 13; and Britannic Magazine; or Entertaining Repository of Heroic Adventures, 12 vols (London: The Author, 1793-1807), I:62. 8  On the anglicisation of Corday see Billie Melman, The Culture of History: English Uses of the Past, 1800-1953 (Oxford: OUP, 2006), 50-52. 9  On these representational trends see John Richard Moores, Representations of France in English Satirical Prints, 1740-1832 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 25-50. Examples of these British/French distinctions are on show in Isaac Cruikshank’s French Happiness/ English Misery (1793), and Gillray’s earlier cartoon French Liberty/British Slavery (1792), both discussed in Diana Donald, The Age of Caricature: Satirical Prints in the Reign of George III (New Haven: Yale UP, 1996), 151.

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Fig. 4.1  James Gillray, The heroic Charlotte La Cordé, upon her trial (1793) © Trustees of the British

praises Corday for ridding the world of ‘atheism’, ‘murder’ and ‘regicide’, three terms that had come to be recognised in Britain as the defining principles on which the revolution was based.10 10  Similar terms are used to describe French Liberty in popular etchings including Thomas Rowlandson’s The Contrast (1792), and John Nixon’s French Liberty (1793). Both are discussed in Donald, Age of Caricature, 150-153. On The Contrast see also my introduction. On Corday, loyalist politics, and Gillray’s caricature see James A. Leith and Andrea Joyce, Face à Face: French and English Caricatures of the French Revolution and its Aftermath (Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1989), 19-21; Adriana Craciun, ‘The New Cordays: Helen Craik and British Representations of Charlotte Corday’, in Rebellious Hearts: British Women Writers and the French Revolution, eds. Adriana Craciun and Kari E. Lokke (New York: State University of New York Press, 2001), 203; and Lisa Moore, Joanna Brooks and Caroline Wigginton (eds.), Transatlantic Feminisms in the Age of Revolutions (Oxford: OUP, 2012), 313.

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Appropriated by British loyalists as the enemy of French republicanism, Corday was able to stand in Britain as a symbol of the nation’s anti-­Jacobin precepts. Yet, even with her political sympathies manipulated, Corday’s actions remained problematic. As Robin Ikegami has aptly pointed out, regardless of what they achieved, ‘when women entered the political arena, whether to defend the status quo or to overturn it, they threatened the very foundations of society, because their publicness contradicted deeply held beliefs about the natural order of gender’.11 Historians have comprehensively documented the insistence among eighteenth-century social commentators on ‘the immense gulf between men and women’s virtue: the one public, the other private’.12 While male virtue was defined by ‘participation in the public world of politics’, to quote Lynn Hunt, female virtue ‘meant withdrawal into the private world of the family’.13 These polarised definitions of male and female virtue led to equally distinct conceptions of male and female heroism. As Dorinda Outram has shown, ‘whereas the male heroes’, like Brutus, were seen to possess a ‘remorseless control over body and emotion’ which enabled them to devote themselves entirely to national concerns, women partook in ‘heroic acts’ by allowing ‘married love or family affections of other kinds’ to prompt in them ‘warm and generous outrage’, which animated them to ‘perform acts of courage and sacrifice’.14 Given the antithesis between accepted forms of male and female heroism, the one political, the other familial, to celebrate Corday as a female Brutus was to condone gender transgression by vindicating the interchangeability of the two. Consequently, in order to present Corday in a way that complied with Britain’s political and social standards, authors were required both to erase 11  Robin Ikegami, ‘Femmes-hommes, She-bishops and Hyenas in Petticoats: Women Reformers and Gender Treason, 1789-1830’, Women’s Studies, An inter-disciplinary journal, vol. 26 (April 1997), 236. 12  Outram, The Body, 84. 13  Lynn Hunt, The Family Romance of The French Revolution (London: Routledge, 1992), 121. See also Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837 (London: Yale UP, 1992), 254-255. 14  Outram, The Body, 84. For British conduct literature espousing these distinct models of male and female heroism see esp. ‘Instances of Female Heroism’, in The Lady’s Monthly Museum, or Polite Repository of Amusement and Instruction (December 1803), 373-376; ‘Instances of the Singular Love of some Wives to their Husbands’, in The Wonderful Magazine and Marvellous Chronicle; or, New Weekly Entertainer 1.1 (1 January 1793), 463; and Priscilla Wakefield, Leisure hours: or entertaining dialogues; between persons eminent for virtue and magnanimity, 2 vols (London: Darton and Harvey, 1794-96), I:29.

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her republicanism and depoliticise her actions, by fabricating a private motive for her crime. The problem of Corday’s gender and its negotiation in British literature has been explored in studies by Adriana Craciun and Wendy C.  Nielsen. Interrogating Corday’s representation across a range of Romantic literature, Craciun explains that in contrast with French Jacobins, who tended to depict Corday as ‘a monstrous woman unsexed by her violent crime and intellect’, British conservatives favoured a portrayal of Corday that fashioned her in the image of ‘an angelic royalist beauty’, whose murder of Marat constituted not a form of political activism, but was enacted as ‘a crime of passion to avenge her murdered lover’. Craciun adds that representations which celebrate Corday’s adherence to a traditionally male model of republican heroism are not entirely absent from the period’s literature, yet they are ‘hard to come by’.15 She names just two British authors, both female, who celebrate Corday as a ‘heroic and republican’ activist: Girondist sympathiser Helen Maria Williams, and little-known Scottish author Helen Craik. While Williams’ heroic depiction of Corday is offered in her Letters Containing a Sketch of the Politics of France (1795), Craciun identifies Craik’s scarcely studied novel Adelaide de Narbonne, with Memoirs of Charlotte de Cordet (1800) as ‘the sole British fictional account of Corday in the Romantic period’ to diverge from conservative norms, by exhibiting Corday as a ‘new type of heroine’ whose ‘desire is justice, not love’, and whose concerns are ‘political, philosophical and public’.16 Echoing Craciun, Nielsen postulates that in Romantic period dramas, Corday was prevalently depicted as either an ‘androgynous monster’ who ‘blurred the lines between masculinity and femininity’, or as an apolitical ‘heroine engaged in romance’.17 Nielsen similarly acknowledges that there are rare exceptions to this rule, which see dramatists celebrate Corday as a heroine who manages to maintain her feminine virtues while fulfilling the role of ‘a female Brutus, an avenger against tyranny’.18 Yet Nielsen is unable to list any British dramas which fall into this category. According to Nielsen, ‘Corday found her most enthusiastic admirers’ in Germany,  Craciun, ‘New Cordays’, 201, 194, 201.  Ibid., 194. For Craciun’s analysis of Williams’ Letters see 205-209. On Craik’s Adelaide de Narbonne see 194-201, 212-223. 17  Wendy C.  Nielsen, Women Warriors in Romantic Drama (Plymouth: University of Delaware Press, 2013), 4. 18  Nielsen, Women Warriors, xxviii. 15 16

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particularly in and around 1804, when, ‘for German readers, Marat might well have evoked […] Napoleon, whose troops occupied Hamburg’.19 In line with this, Nielsen locates a German writer—Christine Westphalen—as the only playwright of the period whose dramatisation of Corday ‘follows a distinctive heroic model’.20 In this chapter, I look to build on and nuance these findings by analysing two tragedies performed at the Crow Street Theatre, Dublin, in 1794 and 1804 respectively: The Maid of Normandy; or, the Death of the Queen of France (1794), by English playwright and provincial actor John Edmund Eyre, and the critically neglected drama Female Heroism, a Tragedy in Five Acts (1803; staged 1804), by Irish vicar and occasional author Matthew West. While Eyre’s play is somewhat typical in its representation of Corday as a royalist and romantic heroine, the drama is important in casting light on the politically inflected nexus formed between sensibility and pathology across the 1790s, which complicates the loving female warrior’s traditional narrative trajectory on the British Romantic stage. Providing a fertile source for scholarly enquiries into women’s perceived relationship with revolutionary activism, West’s Female Heroism offers an idiosyncratic delineation of Charlotte Corday which speaks to the ‘heroic and republican’ brief to which Craciun and Nielsen allude. Via a comparative analysis of these two plays, this chapter foregrounds the dual impact of sensibility’s shifting relationship with patriotic activism, and evolving Anglo-Irish affairs across the ten-year period, in facilitating opportunities on the Dublin stage for a military heroine who is heroic, republican, and feminine, and who is aligned concurrently with the cause of Irish independence.21

‘Throbs of Life-Consuming Anguish’: Royalist, Romantic and Sentimental Heroines in Eyre’s Maid of Normandy English playwright John Edmund Eyre was a staunch political loyalist. Throughout the 1790s he wrote several poems expressing his hatred of the French revolutionaries and his fears of Jacobinism spreading to  Ibid., 26. See also 27-30.  Ibid., 29. 21  On Corday’s dramatic interaction with Irish politics see my previous essay ‘“Be Mine in Politics”: Charlotte Corday and Anti-Union Allegory in Matthew West’s Female Heroism, A Tragedy in Five Acts (1803)’, RECTR, vol. 30, no. 1-2 (Summer/Winter 2015), 89-108. 19 20

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Britain.22 In 1797 he communicated his monarchical sentiments in his poem ‘The Captive Queen’, which offers an emotive description of the suffering imposed on Marie Antoinette by the Jacobins. The poem reads, Her rosy-cheeks, of crimson-hue, Now moisten’d by Affliction’s dew […]. What, is the cruel lot decreed, And must the Royal-Mother bleed? […] The Mother’s pangs – the Children’s cries No friend to grace her obsequies.23

As seen in the previous chapter, this affecting depiction of Marie Antoinette as an ailing and sentimental mother is typical of conservative literature written following the Queen’s execution, which, to quote Christopher Reid, ‘applies the stereotypes and conventions of pathetic and domestic tragedy to a scene of specifically royal distress’.24 Such ‘stereotypes and conventions’ can be identified additionally in Eyre’s Maid of Normandy, which utilises sentimental tropes in order to elicit sympathy for its two royalist heroines—Marie Antoinette and Charlotte Corday— while simultaneously enforcing conservative attitudes towards women and martial activism. The Maid of Normandy depicts both of its heroines as sentimental victims of damaged familial units. On her introduction, the captive Marie Antoinette is seen grieving for her husband who has been sentenced to death by the Jacobin government. She explains that her ‘never-ceasing tears must flow’ as no ‘sov’reign balm/can heal a wound so deeply torn’ as her own, other than knowledge that ‘[her] Lord—[her] King—[her] husband live[s]’.25 The Queen’s love for her husband is matched by her love for her children. When a Jacobin officer comes to separate her from 22  See for instance John Edmund Eyre, ‘On Mr Pitt’s Two Bills to Prevent Seditious Meetings’, in Miscellaneous poems by E. Eyre (Yarmouth: Downes, 1798), and The Two Bills! A Political Poem: with well-meant effusions on mischievous delusions (Bath: G. Robbins, 1796). 23  John Edmund Eyre, ‘The Captive Queen: An Elegiac Ode’, printed in Eyre’s The Fatal Sisters: or, the Castle of the forest: a dramatic romance, of five acts. With a variety of poetic essays (London: J. Plymsell, 1797), 119-120. 24  Christopher Reid, ‘Burke’s Tragic Muse: Sarah Siddons and the “Feminization” of the Reflections’, in Burke and the French Revolution: Bicentennial Essays, ed. Stephen Blakemore (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1992), 9. 25  John Edmund Eyre, The Maid of Normandy; or, the Death of the Queen of France. A tragedy, in four acts (Dublin: Zacharia Johnson, 1794), II.i.19.

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her offspring, she experiences ‘tormenting grief’ and ‘bitter pain’ that is ‘worse than death’. She protests that ‘e’en Stones would weep at such a scene as this’, before begging the Jacobin officer that if he knew ‘what agonies’ she felt, he and his ‘vile employers would relent’.26 By stressing the Queen’s strong familial affections and keen sensibilities, Eyre communicates indubitably the loyalist biases underpinning his narrative: while pity is inspired for the grieving and virtuous Queen, hostility is directed towards the obdurate Jacobins responsible for her suffering. Marie Antoinette is not the tragedy’s only royalist heroine: like the figure depicted in Gillray’s image, Eyre’s Corday is also shown to nurture monarchical sentiments. She declares that ‘the worst of tyrants is a Democrat’ and labels Marat as ‘thou destroyer of a monarch’s life/thou vile tormentor of a suff’ring Queen/and chief abetter of rebellion’s crew’.27 Owing to her royalist affiliation, it is integral to Maid’s anti-­ Jacobin bias that Corday too is presented as an object of compassion. Eyre enables this by paralleling Corday’s circumstances with those of Marie Antoinette’s. Like the Queen, Corday is first seen on stage mourning the death of her lover, Alberto, whom she believes to have been killed by Marat. Mirroring Marie Antoinette’s affecting manifestation of strong familial sensibilities, Corday exhibits ‘throbs of life-consuming anguish’ which cause ‘the crimson blush’ on her ‘beauteous cheek’ to be ‘moisten’d by […] tears’. She then speaks of the ‘bitter drops/which from the cup of sorrow overflow’ as she remembers ‘the horrid day/when, by the sev’ring axe Alberto died’.28 Indicating both the potency of her feminine sensibilities, and the familial drive behind the crime she will go on to commit, Corday exclaims: T’were needless to repeat how much I’ve borne Since the sad tidings of Alberto’s death; […] My woes I will convert to special use – My streaming tears shall swell the great account Of dire revenge.29

By foregrounding the ‘streaming tears’ and ‘life-consuming anguish’ provoked by the alleged murder of her lover, Eyre challenges d’Eglantine’s  Eyre, Maid, III.i.31.  Ibid., II.ii.22; I.ii.17. 28  Ibid., I.ii.13, 14. 29  Ibid., I.ii.15. 26 27

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portrayal of Corday as a woman who has renounced the feminine qualities of ‘sentimental love and its soft emotions’, by implying that it is from these very impulses that her aggressive actions spring. At the same time, Eyre interacts with contemporary hypotheses equating women’s emotional sensitivities with a readiness for martial activism. In 1799, Mary Robinson would argue that women’s propensity to ‘ache with sensibility and burn with indignation’ rouses them more seamlessly than their male counterparts for the military mobilisation needed to secure social justice.30 If Eyre is congruent with Robinson in his depiction of female passion as an inducement to combative exertion, however, he departs significantly from his progressive counterpart in his illustration of the dangerous waywardness by which such exertions are marked. ‘Committed to a Mad House!’ Pathological Sensibility and the Loving Female Warrior Corday’s declaration of her love-inspired military quest provides audiences with a familiar theatrical scene. Female warriors spurred on by spousal affections were a recurring figure on the late eighteenth-century British stage. Appearing commonly in plays staged during times of impending invasion, the loving female warrior was frequently used as a ploy to rouse the nation’s inactive menfolk to military exertions, by exposing, via her own masculine exploits, the comparable effeminacy of her non-serving male compatriots.31 Typically, such heroines, and the plots in which they appeared, adhered to a standard set of narrative conventions. Dianne Dugaw has shown eighteenth-century dramatists to borrow from the ballad tradition in presenting the heroine whose military actions constitute ‘loving ministrations’ as ‘not only a good woman’, but ‘a good soldier’ 30  Mary Robinson, A Letter to the Women of England, on the injustice of mental subordination. With anecdotes (London: T. N. Longman and O. Rees, 1799), 8. For contemporaneous alignments of female sensibility with political justice see Orianne Smith, Romantic Women Writers, Revolution, and Prophecy: Rebellious Daughters, 1786-1826 (Cambridge: CUP, 2013), 99-128. 31  Paula R. Backscheider explores this idea extensively in Women in Wartime: Theatrical Representations in the Long Eighteenth Century (Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 2021). See esp. 1-25 and 58-251. Also on plays fitting this brief see David Worrall, Celebrity, Performance, Reception: British Georgian Theatre as Social Assemblage (Cambridge: CUP, 2013), 124-135; and Gillian Russell, The Theatres of War: Performance, Politics, and Society, 1793-1815 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 33-50.

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too, whose ‘unfeminine inclinations are invariably applauded and get the heroine’ the ‘man of her choice and a celebrated, secure and happy marriage’.32 Plays typifying these conventions include the musical entertainments The Camp (DL; 1778) by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and Britain’s Glory; or, a Trip to Portsmouth (Haymarket; 1794) by Robert Benson. In The Camp, Nancy joins her lover’s regiment in order to share ‘each peril’, ‘every toil’, and ‘all hardships’ that he endures.33 Proving herself well suited to the art of ‘storming and wounding’, Nancy is commended for the aptitude with which she performs her military exercise and is praised by the Sergeant for being ‘as handy a lad as ever was’.34 Nancy is subsequently rewarded for her military efforts when her lover, William, welcomes her ‘into his arms’, and insists that he could have been granted nothing greater than Nancy’s smile as ‘the reward of [his] toil’.35 In Britain’s Glory, Harriet is similarly encouraged by ‘cupid’ to support her ‘intended husband’, Captain Freeman, who is serving on board with the Royal Navy.36 Again, demonstrating her masculine abilities, Harriet resembles ‘the skilful seaman’ in her capacity to endure the challenges posed by ‘the winds and waves’. When reunited with her lover, Captain Freeman cannot find ‘words to express [his] joy’ at Harriet’s arrival on board. He refers to Harriet as his ‘dearest love’ and claims to feel ‘indebted to [her] for this proof’ of ‘constancy and affection’.37 Epitomising the narrative conventions outlined by Dugaw, both Nancy and Harriet are shown to be ‘deserving in romance, able in war, and rewarded in both’.38 Though clearly differentiated from the transgressive and vile virago by acting on behalf of a spouse, the behaviour of the loving female warrior was not devoid of subversive implications. Dugaw argues that while the figure’s familial motive and concluding return to the domestic realms 32  Dianne Dugaw, Warrior Women and Popular Balladry, 1650-1850 (New York: CUP, 1989), 153, 5. 33  Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The Camp: A Musical Entertainment (1778), in Sheridan’s Plays, ed. Cecil Price (Oxford: OUP, 1975), II.ii.327. 34  Sheridan, The Camp, II.ii.320 35  Ibid., II.ii.330. 36  Robert Benson, Britain’s Glory; or, a trip to Portsmouth: A Musical Entertainment (London: J. Baker, 1794), I.i.15, 32 37  Benson, Britain’s Glory, I.i.16, 31. Other theatrical narratives that adhere to these conventions include Nootka Sound: or, Britain Prepar’d (1790) and Love and Honour: or, Britannia in Full Glory at Spithead (1794). On these performances see Worrall, Celebrity, 124-135. 38  Dugaw, Warrior Women, 1.

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‘justifies what might otherwise be considered unusual behaviour for a woman’, her successful fulfilment of a masculine occupation ‘invites us to rethink the immutability and “naturalness” of gender’, by highlighting ‘the extent to which gender markers are actually customary and principally external’.39 By effortlessly excelling in her martial role, both physically and mentally, the heroine proves herself capable of assuming a masculine identity, and thereby suggests the fluidity of gendered characteristics. This challenge to the immutability of gender posed a particularly pressing problem in the political climate of the 1790s, at which point anxieties around the implied transferability of male and female behaviours were accelerating at pace. Thomas Lacquer has famously traced the replacement in late eighteenth-­ century medical theory of a ‘one-sex model’, in which ‘men and women were arrayed according to their degree of metaphysical perfection’, by a ‘two-sex model’ which stressed ‘radical dimorphism’ and ‘biological divergence’ between the sexes.40 As scholars including Catherine Craft-Fairchild and Kathleen Wilson have emphasised, ‘such an oppositional model of gender depended for its stability upon the maintenance of a clearly visible line of demarcation between the roles of men and women’: a demarcation which, owing to the ‘ubiquitous spectacle of women out of place and out of control’ within the revolutionary context, was being constantly undermined.41 The political and military mobilisation of women during the French Revolution provided ample opportunity for speculation over the naturalness of gendered difference. In 1793, a journalist writing for the Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure, declared that, The bold exertions to which women have been roused […] have a tendency to persuade us that the timidity so generally remarkable in them, is rather an artificial than a natural trait […]; men affect to have more, and women less courage than in reality belongs to them.42  Ibid., 143, 144.  Thomas Lacquer, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (USA: Harvard UP, 1992), 6. 41   Catherine Craft-Fairchild, ‘Cross-Dressing and the Novel: Women Warriors and Domestic Femininity’, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, vol.  10, issue 2 (January 1998), 177; Kathleen Wilson, ‘Nelson’s Women: Female Masculinity and Body Politics in the French and Napoleonic Wars’, European History Quarterly, vol. 37, no .4 (October 2007), 565. 42  ‘Anecdotes of Female Heroism’, in Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure (February 1793), 99. 39 40

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Acknowledging the large scale on which women are proving themselves capable of ‘bold exertions’, the journalist is able to query the proposed incommensurability between the sexes, by raising the possibility that the weakness associated with the female sex is performative rather than innate. As the article intimates, by 1793, heroines like Nancy and Harriet could not be brushed off as innocuous fictional creations, who represent rare, if not entirely fantastical female figures. Rather, such heroines came to evoke the real-life women proliferating in Europe, whose seamless accomplishments of masculine roles were jeopardising the theories of sexual polarisation upon which society’s patriarchal structure had come to depend. Demonstrative of enhanced anxieties in Britain around women’s implied capacity for masculine occupations—military occupations in particular—a corpus of journalistic writing emerges throughout the 1790s which forms an overt link between women’s martial exertions and their psychological demise. In 1791, the newspaper The World published an article updating readers on the fate of British soldier Hannah Snell. Snell had served on board a ship in the British navy in 1745. Her story was first presented to the public in Robert Walker’s The Female Soldier, or, The Surprising Life and Adventures of Hannah Snell (1750). In Walker’s narrative, Snell is depicted in accordance with the female warriors exhibited in The Camp and Britain’s Glory: like them, she embarks on her military mission for familial reasons, and proves herself to be a skilled female soldier. Walker explains that Snell joined the navy to track down her husband, who, ‘when she was seven months with child’, made ‘an elopement from her’.43 Thriving in her masculine role, Snell performs her ‘military exercise’ with ‘as much skill and dexterity as any Sergeant or corporal in his Majesty’s service’. She ‘soon became expert’ in ‘fight[ing] at small arms’, and she was able to ‘keep watch […] day and night’, despite being ‘inexperienced with these kinds of hardships’.44 Walker closes his narrative by congratulating Snell for dealing with ‘the greatest dangers and hardships’ with ‘no difficulties, no pains, no terrors’ and no ‘prospect of future calamities’.45 As far as Walker is concerned, Snell flourished as a soldier and was in no way afflicted either during or following her military expedition.

43  Robert Walker, The Female Soldier, or, The Surprising Life and Adventures of Hannah Snell (1750), ed. Dianne Dugaw (Los Angeles: The Augustan Reprint Society, 1989), 6. 44  Walker, Female Soldier, 7, 11. 45  Ibid., 40, 41.

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In 1791, however, the journalist writing for The World corrected Walker’s suggestion that Snell’s martial endeavours led to no ‘future calamities’, when printing the details of an ailment that had lately befallen her. Rather than merely relating the facts of her illness, the journalist sought simultaneously to explain the cause of Snell’s malady, by drawing a connection between her medical complaint and her previous military experience. The journalist tells how ‘Hannah Snell’ who ‘served on board ship as a common sailor, though a woman’, has ‘been lately committed to a mad house!’ The author then defines Snell’s misfortune as ‘a sad proof’ of how her ‘singular exertions’ have led ‘to insanity’.46 In contrast to her mid-century biographer, who presented no biological discrepancy between women and war, either physical or mental, the article hints at woman’s innate inability to deal psychologically with military experiences, by implying that Snell’s soldierly exploits have destroyed her mental faculties and rendered her insane. The World was not alone in suggesting the destructive impact of military exertions on woman’s emotional state. In 1795 The Weekly Entertainer recorded the story of another family-oriented female warrior, Madame de Bennes from Normandy, who, since fighting alongside her husband in ‘the infantry of the Legion of Damas’, is said to have been plagued with ‘the utmost distress’ for which she can find ‘no resource’.47 The same periodical later printed a comparably mournful account of British woman Mary Anne Talbot, who disguised herself as a man to accompany her male guardian on board with the British navy. Again, differing from Nancy and Harriet, Talbot is shown to be unsuited psychologically to her military role: her exploits cause her to suffer from ‘the most excruciating’ forms of ‘fatigue and distress’ for which ‘medical men’ have ‘not yet made a perfect cure’.48 Entirely antagonistic to emergent speculations of gender as performance, these articles do not celebrate the female warrior for allowing familial duties to propel her to martial excellence, as Walker had done with Snell. Rather, they encourage readers to ‘commiserate her misfortunes’,

 The World, 16 September 1791.  ‘Singular Instance of Female Heroism’, in The Weekly Entertainer: or Agreeable and Instructive Repository 26 (28 December 1795), 512, 513. 48  ‘Account of Mary Anne Talbot, otherwise John Taylor’, in The Weekly Entertainer 44 (17 September 1804), 233, 235, 236. On Talbot and similar depictions of suffering female warriors see Dror Wahrman, The Making of the Modern Self (New Haven: Yale UP, 2004), 22-24. 46 47

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by showing her unnaturally masculine endeavours to have resulted in severe psychological affliction.49 That women were particularly susceptible to psychological disorders on account of their heightened sensitivities was a theory that was circulating in Britain long before the 1790s.50 Yet, in the revolutionary context, the weight attached to women’s supposed proneness to paroxysms of hysteria and derangement acquired new ideological force, providing a fortuitous counter-argument to women’s interventions in public affairs, which the revolution had rendered pervasive.51 Fully exploiting the misogynistic potentialities fostered by such theories, political and didactic discourses of the 1790s showed women’s public exertions to threaten not only the psychological well-being of the woman involved, but to imperil the safety of those around her, too. The theory held that women’s acute sensibilities, when unleashed in the political sphere, could have catastrophic repercussions on a national scale. In 1793 French radical André Amar vindicated the prohibition of all French women’s political clubs on the basis that ‘Women are disposed by their organisation to an over-­ excitation which would be deadly in public affairs’.52 Women’s powerful emotions, he continued, dictate that ‘Interests of state would soon be sacrificed to everything which ardour in passions can generate in the way of error and disorder’.53 By invoking the sensibility/pathology nexus,  ‘Mary Anne Talbot’, 236.  See for instance John Mullan, Sentiment and Sociability: the Language of Feeling in the Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Clarendon, 1998), 110-113, 201-233; Janet Todd, Sensibility: An Introduction (London: Methuen, 1986), 18-20; and G. J. Barker-Benfield, The Culture of Sensibility: Sex and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 1-36. 51  On the ideological force attached to female sensibility in 1790s Britain and France see Anne C.  Vila, Enlightenment and Pathology: Sensibility in the Literature and Medicine of Eighteenth-Century France (Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 1998), 242-245; Steven Blakemore, ‘Revolution and the French Disease: Laetitia Matilda Hawkins’s Letters to Helen Maria Williams’, Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, vol. 36 (July 1996), 673-691; Sean M.  Quinlan, ‘Physical and Moral Regeneration after the Terror: Medical Culture, Sensibility, and Family Politics in France, 1794-1804’, Social History, vol. 29, no. 2 (May 2004), 139-164; and Ludmilla Jordanova, Nature Displayed: Gender, Science, and Medicine, 1760-1820 (New York: Longman, 1999), 163-182. 52  André Amar, Réimpression de l’ancien Moniteur, November 1793, trans. and reproduced in Harriet B.  Applewhite, Darline G.  Levy and Mary Durham Johnson (eds.), Women in Revolutionary Paris, 1789-1795: Selected Documents translated with notes and commentary (USA: Illini Books, 1980), 217. 53  Amar, Réimpression, 215, 216. 49 50

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Amar sanctions both the gendered division of labour and the gendered division of spheres: women’s innate propensity for an ‘over-excitation’ of the passions poses a challenge to national welfare which necessitates women’s debarment from political and public life. Across the Channel, conduct authors including Hannah More and Thomas Gisborne adopted an analogous standpoint on the dangers liable to result from women’s ‘ungoverned passions’ when exercised within the political realm.54 More insists that on account of their capacity to become excessively ‘agitated by the passions’, women must devote themselves to sober ‘domestic habits’ and remain ‘secured from those difficulties and temptations to which men are exposed in the tumult of a bustling world’. While the former lifestyle works to ‘bring the imagination under dominion’, the latter will have the adverse effect of ‘stimulating [woman’s] sensibility’ to an extent liable to deprive women of rational and prudent behaviour, and to manifest even in ‘criminal excesses’ and ‘the blackest crimes’, if wrought to too great a height.55 In her Letters on the Female Mind (1793), British Tory Laetitia Matilda Hawkins aptly summarises the paradoxical properties attributed to female sensibility in the period’s conduct literature. She proclaims that woman’s ‘irritable nerves’ constitute both ‘our torments and our grace’:56 considered on the one hand as ‘the glory of the female sex’, woman’s ‘sympathising sensibility’ was associated concurrently with ‘confused intellects and a disturbed imagination’, which placed women ‘in especial danger’ of thinking and behaving unreasonably.57 This jarring affiliation of women’s ‘highly commended’ sensibility with disorder and even criminal wrongdoing provides a useful framework for political loyalists, such as Eyre, wanting to defend Marat’s assassin against charges of monstrosity without condoning gendered sphere division.58 Aligned simultaneously with inherent goodness and a proclivity for misconduct, woman’s vehement sensibilities enabled female perpetrators of vice to be viewed as embodiments of virtue. Capitalising on this paradox in Maid, Eyre manages to 54  Hannah More, Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education, 2 vols (London: T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1799), II:35, 38, 35. 55  More, Strictures, II:35, 38, 35. See also Thomas Gisborne, An Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex (London: T. Cadell jun. and W. Davies, 1797), 34-39. 56  Laetitia Matilda Hawkins, Letters on the Female Mind, its powers and pursuits. Addressed to Miss H. M. Williams, 2 vols (London: Hookman and Carpenter, 1793), I:10. 57  Gisborne, An Enquiry, 23, 34, 39. 58  More, Strictures, II:98

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discourage women’s public activism without blackening the character of his royalist murderess. ‘Banish’d Reason’: A Virtuous yet Frenzied Heroine Soon after audiences learn of Corday’s plans to avenge Alberto’s murder by assassinating Marat, her intention is rendered superfluous, as it is revealed that there is in fact no death to avenge. Alberto appears before Corday’s acquaintance, Dumiel, who has accompanied her to Paris, and explains that he has been forced to flee his home and assume a disguise as ‘Theodore’ to escape Marat’s knife.59 Not to detract from Marat’s villainy, Eyre assures audiences that a murder was committed, yet its victim was not Alberto, but an equally innocent ‘victim of the self-same name, and country’, who ‘suffered for his loyalty’.60 Alberto/Theodore declares it his intention to come out of hiding and return to his ‘ador’d Corde’, whom he likens to the stock figure of the loving female warrior, when describing her as a woman of ‘lasting constancy’ and ‘exalted, matchless virtue’.61 News that Alberto is alive and plans to reunite himself with Corday provides hope of the happy ending commonly granted to the skilled and loving female warrior. Diverging from her theatrical contemporaries however, Corday’s embodiment of the pathological sensibilities supposedly unique to her sex deprives her of the military pragmatism embodied by the adept female soldier, and, as such, strips her of the reward that the figure conventionally enjoys. The resemblance between Corday’s ardent feelings and the ‘ungoverned passions’ cautioned against in political and didactic literature is rendered clear immediately. Showing ‘her sorrows’ to have become ‘indulg’d’, Corday demands that one might just as well ‘forbid the ocean to assault the beach’ as talk to her of ‘cool indifference’, as her situation has driven her ‘reason mad’.62 Her speech subsequently takes on the form of ‘frantic ravings’ as she describes the ‘fiery sparks of raging indignation’ which are set to ‘burst, with consuming wrath upon the head/of that detested homicide, Marat’.63 Dumiel, providing the voice of reason, begs Corday not to  See Eyre, Maid, I.i.10.  Ibid., II.iii.24. 61  Ibid., II.iii.25, 26 62  Ibid., I.ii.14. 63  Ibid., I.ii.15-16. 59 60

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let ‘misguided zeal’ cause her ‘to stain [her] spotless soul with blood’, and advises that she recall ‘banish’d reason to [her] aid’ before ‘it is too late’. The potency of Corday’s emotion is such, however, that Dumiel’s words fail to calm her, and she continues to insist that the pain of her ‘sad, complaining heart’ can ‘be extinguish’d but by blood!’64 Spurred on by emotions as insurmountable as a ‘tyger’s hungry fury’, Corday’s narrative proceeds to a melancholy conclusion.65 In contrast to Nancy and Harriet, whose steadfast fulfilments of their military roles result in permanent and celebrated unions with the men that they love, Corday’s hasty and hysterical murder of Marat means that she and Alberto ‘meet to part so soon’: shortly after their reunion, Jacobin officers have Corday ‘dragg’d like a common culprit to the block’ to be ‘mangled by the axe’ and ‘expos’d a public spectacle’.66 Enforcing Robinson’s hypothesised link between female passion and militant aggression, Corday’s sensibilities indeed catalyse her military mobilisation: yet they do so against her better judgement, causing her to embark upon a mission that results not in profitable and heroic exertion, but in a fruitless and wholly misguided crime. Eyre’s depiction of Corday is consequently at once sympathetic and misogynistic. On the one hand, Eyre presents Corday, like her royalist counterpart Marie Antoinette, as a paragon of idealised femininity. In Maid’s penultimate scene, after the Jacobins have sent both Corday and the Queen to the guillotine, Alberto/Theodore delivers a monologue, in which he declares, The modest matron, and the spotless maid, The guard of virtue and the prop of age, E’en all that man can hold most dear, and precious, Will be the spoil of our imperious traitors.67

As the monologue attests, Corday’s femininised portrayal detaches her entirely from the monstrous virago painted by the Jacobins, fashioning her instead as a ‘spotless maid’ whose death is a direct result of her victimisation at the hands of the ‘imperious traitors’ constituting the Jacobinical government. By pairing the deaths of Charlotte Corday, a ‘dearest Lady’ of ‘exalted matchless virtue’, and Marie Antoinette, a ‘wife’ who ‘but  Ibid., I.ii.16, 17.  Ibid., III.ii.32. 66  Ibid., III.ii.35. 67  Ibid., IV.iii.40. 64 65

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obey’d [her] husband’, and a ‘mother’ who ‘but pursu’d affection’, Eyre intimates the urgency with which Jacobin practices must be defeated, by suggesting that the fate of the nation’s ‘most dear, and precious’ women is at stake.68 While Eyre’s sentimentalised depiction of Corday thereby facilitates his play’s anti-Jacobin agenda, Corday’s strength of feeling is equally pivotal to the play’s enforcement of gendered sphere division. Conflating Corday’s visceral conduct explicitly with the ‘error and disorder’ alluded to by Amar (Corday may have murdered a villain, but her reason for doing so was fallacious), and showing such error to result from ‘ungoverned passions’ wrought to extremes by Corday’s forced intervention in political affairs, Eyre’s tragedy dramatises plainly the gendered theories of sensibility vindicating women’s absence from public and political life.

‘The Heroism that Distinguishes it’: Negotiating Female Heroism in West’s Female Heroism In 1804, ten years after The Maid of Normandy was performed in Ireland’s capital, Matthew West’s Female Heroism, a Tragedy in Five Acts, was also staged in Dublin. West explains in the preface to his tragedy that he initially commenced the play ‘in December 1793’, but that his work was discontinued the following year when he discovered that Eyre had produced ‘a play on the same subject’. West was inspired to continue writing his drama, nonetheless, by ‘a perusal of Mr Eyre’s performance’, which he considered to be ‘defective in form’ and ‘censurable in other respects’.69 West objected especially to Eyre’s inclusion of historical fabrications. He wrote in his own preface that ‘an historical play, especially when founded on recent events’, should be distinguished from others by ‘a strict adherence to truth’. Exposing Eyre’s divergence from this rule, West continues: Mr Eyre has taken an unwarrantable liberty with the well-known character of Charlotte Cordé. He pourtrays her as a Royalist: and degrades her ­conduct, by ascribing to the influence of private resentment an act, really the result of public […] zeal. To represent her attack of Marat, as originating in despair at the death of a favoured lover, is to strip her character of the  Ibid., I.ii.12; II.iii.26; IV.ii.38.  Matthew West, Female Heroism, a Tragedy in Five Acts, founded on revolutionary events that occurred in France in 1793 (Dublin: William Porter, 1803), v. 68 69

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Heroism that distinguishes it. The merit of her Patriotism consisted in her sacrificing […] the endearments of natural affection […] to […] the interests of her country.70

As his criticism makes clear, West was averse to Eyre’s erasure of the political sentiments inspiring Corday’s crime. By insisting that her actions were motivated by romantic love, Eyre divests Corday’s character of ‘the Heroism that distinguishes it’. He does so by concealing ‘the merit of her Patriotism’ which lay in her willingness to sacrifice ‘the endearments of natural affection’ to ‘the interests of her country’. Correcting Eyre’s characterisation of Corday as a romantic and royalist heroine, West describes her in his tragedy’s advertisement as ‘a Republican of the Brissotin or moderate party’ whose murder of Marat was fuelled by his position as ‘leader of the faction of the Mountain’.71 In offering this account of her character, West paints a rare portrait of Corday as the personification of the traditionally male republican hero, in whose image Corday had proudly fashioned herself while she lived.72 Despite his promise to stick ‘comfortably to fact’, however, West himself departs from historical accuracy by maintaining an invented rape narrative first implemented by Eyre. In The Maid of Normandy, Corday succeeds in stabbing Marat after he threatens that ‘thou must be mine’ before ‘laying hold of her’.73 Within the context of Eyre’s narrative, the attempted-rape scene contributes straightforwardly to Corday’s feminisation, making her murder of Marat appear less like a self-determined form of public activism than a desperate attempt to preserve her virtue.74 It seems unlikely, however, that West, having berated Eyre for stripping Corday of the ‘merit of her Patriotism’, would recreate the scene in order to serve this same depoliticising function. While Eyre’s depiction of Corday, as we have seen, was dictated by the author’s fervently loyalist sympathies, the ideological biases shaping the identity of West’s heroine are somewhat more complex. Very little biographical information is available for West. Yet information garnered from his posthumously published Sermons on Various Subjects (1819), and from the acquaintances he held in his hometown of Clane in County Kildare, point towards his drama’s dual  West, Female Heroism, v–vi.  Ibid., vi. 72  See Corday to Barbaroux, London Chronicle, 1 August 1793. 73  Eyre, Maid, II.ii.23; III.ii.34. 74  On Maid’s rape scene see Nielsen, Women Warriors, 17. 70 71

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indebtedness to his theological and national preoccupations.75 The analysis that follows unpicks the role played by each of these factors in nuancing interpretations of West’s armed heroine. I propose on the one hand that West’s portrayal of Corday as a ‘heroic and republican’ patriot, who is nonetheless feminine, derives from the synergy between the Christian model of universal love advocated in West’s Sermons, and the sentimentalised republican ideal which supplants the austere Roman archetype on the early nineteenth-century British stage. Foregrounding subsequently the new cultural valence acquired by the fabricated rape scene in the play’s turn-of-the-century Irish context, I make a case for reading Female Heroism not only as a eulogy of Christian philanthropy, but as a veiled anti-union allegory, in which Corday personifies Irish independence, and the drama’s villain, Marat, becomes the unlikely embodiment of tyrannical British rule. ‘Filial Love/Flies on the Wings of Duty’: Republican Heroism, Christian Duty, and Feminine Feeling Recounting the principles instilled in French radicals in the early stages of the revolution, British anti-Jacobin John Bowles explained in 1800, All the affections, which were the first and strongest impulses of the heart, should be subordinate to patriotism; […] the example of Brutus […] should animate them to prefer the calls of justice to the dearest ties of kindred; – and […] it would be a most meritorious virtue to sacrifice parents and relations, whenever the welfare of the country might require such a sacrifice.76

As Bowles’ account attests, French radicals were expected to do precisely that with which West credits Corday in his tragedy’s preface: sacrifice ‘the endearments of natural affection’ to ‘the interests of [their] country’. French revolutionaries admired the classical republican model of civic 75  To my knowledge, the only available version of West’s Sermons on Various Subjects is held at University of Wales Trinity St David, Lampeter campus. Information on West’s residence is accessible via W. J. R. Wallace (ed.), Clergy of Meath and Kildare: Biographical Succession Lists (Dublin: Columba Press, 2009), 831; and Richard Sullivan, ‘Clane ’98’, in Fugitive Warfare: Conflict and Rebellion in North Kildare 1792-1798, eds. Seamus Cullen and Hermann Geissel (Clane: Clane Historical Society, 1998), 163-173. 76  John Bowles, Reflections on the political State of Society at the commencement of the year 1800 (London: T. N. Longman and O. Rees, 1800), 44-45.

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virtue, characterised by the forfeiture of private interest for the benefit of the public weal. Advocates of this model taught that nothing was to be held dearer than the welfare of the country, and that even familial bonds were to be sacrificed if the nation’s health required it. Typifying the tenets of civic virtue when sentencing his sons to death upon discovering their conspiracy against the Roman Republic, Brutus was heralded by French radicals as the epitome of republican heroism, to whom the nation’s citizens should aspire.77 Across the Channel, the growing insistence placed on national ideologies of politeness meant that classical tenets sat less comfortably with British liberals than they did their French counterparts.78 Yet, in the early stages of the revolution, reverence for Brutus and his ideals was not undetectable among British radicals.79 Chief among those who subscribed to the abstract idealism associated with revolutionary France were the 77  A painted image of Brutus stood in the meeting place of the National Convention, alongside a sculpture of his bust, identical to that which appeared in the meeting house of the Jacobin Club. On the veneration of classical republicanism in early revolutionary France see Marisa Linton, Choosing Terror: Virtue, Friendship and Authenticity in the French Revolution (Oxford: OUP, 2013), 32-36; Suzanne Desan, The Family on Trial in Revolutionary France (London: California Press, 2004), 75-80; Andrew J.  S. Jainchill, Reimagining Politics after the Terror: The Republican Origins of French Liberalism (New York: Cornell UP, 2008) 1-61; Higonnet, Goodness, 101-209; Keith Michael Baker, ‘Transformations of Classical Republicanism in Eighteenth-Century France’, The Journal of Modern History, vol. 73, no. 1 (March 2001), 32-53; J. G. A. Pocock, Virtue, Commerce and History: Essays on Political Thought and History, Chiefly in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge: CUP, 1985), 215-310; and Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republic Tradition (New Jersey: Princeton UP, 1975) 462-505. 78  On classical values in eighteenth-century Britain see Jonathan Sachs, Roman Antiquity: Rome in the British Imagination (Oxford: OUP, 2010), 51-74; Mark Philp, Reforming Ideas in Britain: Politics and Language in the Shadow of the French Revolution, 1789-1815 (Cambridge: CUP, 2014), 142; Philp, ‘English republicanism in the 1790s’, The Journal of Political Philosophy, vol.  6, no.  3 (1998), 235-262; Pocock, Virtue, 28-48; Philip Ayres, Classical Culture and the Idea of Rome in Eighteenth-Century England (Cambridge: CUP, 1997),1-47; Gregory Claeys, Citizens and Saints: Politics and Anti-Politics in early British Socialism (Cambridge: CUP, 1989), 28-29; Claeys ‘The French Revolution Debate and British Political Thought’, History of Political Thought, vol.  11, Issue 1 (Spring 1990), 59-80; Paul A. Rahe, ‘Antiquity Surpassed: The repudiation of classical republicanism’, in Republicanism, Liberty and Commercial Society, 1649-1776, ed. David Wooton (California: Stanford UP, 1994), 233-269; and Isaac Kramnick, Republicanism and Bourgeois Radicalism: Political Ideology in late Eighteenth-Century England and America (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1990), 164-168. 79  See Sachs, Romantic Antiquity, 15-18.

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republican sympathisers Thomas Holcroft and William Godwin. These authors fleetingly united over a vision of society in which ‘family attachment’ and ‘exclusive friendships’ would ‘be weakened or lost in the general principle of benevolence’, as partial affections ‘interfere with the claims of justice’.80 Despite the adamance with which classical tenets were heralded by select revolutionary sympathisers at the start of the 1790s, traditional Roman precepts would come to be anathematised in Britain and France alike as the decade reached its close. In their place, revised Roman models were introduced which facilitated a surprising convergence between republican heroism, Christian love, and feminine feeling. It is from such coalescence, I argue, that West profits in his portrayal of Charlotte Corday. In 1789, French radical Jean-Jacques David exhibited his painting The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of his Sons (1789) [Fig. 4.2]. The painting offers contrary images of Brutus and his wife, Portia, at the moment that the bodies of their sons, sentenced to death by Brutus for disloyalty to the state, are carried through their home. While Brutus displays a stoic demeanour, sitting with his feet crossed and not even turning to face the corpses, his wife is seen comforting her daughters who cling to her for support, while expressing despair in her face and reaching out to her deceased offspring. The gender-divided canvas intimates what was at stake for West in presenting Charlotte Corday in the image of the disinterested republican ideal: Portia’s lamentations, juxtaposed with Brutus’ austerity, show women to be incapable of fostering the universal philanthropy of the 80  William Hazlitt (ed.), Memoirs of the Late Thomas Holcroft, 3 vols (London: Longham, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, 1816), I:179. See also Godwin’s famous Fénelon passage in An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, 2 vols (Dublin: Luke White, 1793), I:76-77. While universal benevolence was widely advocated by British radicals in favour of the partial affections privileged by loyalists, Holcroft and Godwin were idiosyncratic in encouraging the wholehearted usurpation of private sentiments by disinterested philanthropy. On models of universal benevolence proclaimed in 1790s Britain see Chris Jones, Radical Sensibility: Literature and Ideas in the 1790s (London: Routledge, 1993), 89-102; Mary Fairclough, The Romantic Crowd: Sympathy, Controversy and Print Culture (New York: CUP, 2013), 82-106; Evan Radcliffe, ‘Arguing Benevolence: Wordsworth, Godwin and the 1790s’, in The French Revolution Debate in English Literature and Culture, ed. Lisa Plummer Crafton (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1997), 59-81; and Radcliffe, ‘Revolutionary Writing, Moral Philosophy, and Universal Benevolence in the Eighteenth Century’, Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 54, no. 2 (April 1993), 221-240.

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Fig. 4.2  Jacques-Louis David, The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of his Sons (1789). © Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Art Resource, NY

classical Roman hero, by enforcing the notion that women will always feel more for their families than they will for the state.81 Women’s perceived inability to nurture impartial sentiments was prevalently enforced in British literature and theatre.82 In Hannah Cowley’s tragedy The Fate of Sparta; or, the Rival Kings (1788), the drama’s heroine, Chelonice, is unable to join forces with her male compatriots, who seek to put an end to the tyranny that her father exercises over the state, 81  On this image see Denise Amy Baxter, ‘Two Brutuses: Violence, Virtue and Politics in the Visual Culture of the French Revolution’, Eighteenth-Century Life, vol.  30, no.  3 (Summer 2006), 56; and Hunt, Family Romance, 37-40. 82  On conduct literature dealing with this idea see Hilda L. Smith, All Men and Both Sexes: Gender, Politics, and the False Universal in England, 1640-1832 (USA: Pennsylvania State UP, 2002), 138-140; and Harriet Guest, Small Change: Women, Learning, Patriotism, 1750-1810 (London: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 176-219.

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as her filial loyalties outweigh her national sentiments. She declares, ‘I would be great/and bear the cares of thousands.—But ambition/and ev’ry lofty sentiment it gives,/sinks to the earth when weigh’d against his life/from whom I drew my own’.83 Sophia Lee’s tragedy Almeyda: Queen of Granada (1796) suggests a similar idea. When Queen Almeyda is separated from her husband she demonstrates her inability to fulfil her duties to the state as her ‘heart flies back to hover near [her] love/and envies ev’ry slave who daily sees him’.84 Almeyda goes on to distinguish between the universal sentiments made available to men, and the narrower affections embodied by women, when exclaiming: Nature here makes a distinction; Forms man’s large heart for many a various duty, And blends his passions into a Republic – While woman, born for love and softness only, Delights to feel love’s absolute dominion!85

Almeyda implies that while men’s passions naturally take a republican form, women are inherently more loyalist: women have a greater capacity for monarchical feeling than they do the general philanthropy practised by republicans, as they habitually allow love for the individual to exercise ‘absolute dominion’ over their hearts. By demonstrating women’s innate propensity for personal attachments, both tragedies assert the implausibility of a female Brutus. Woman cannot ‘bear the cares of thousands’ as her heart always ‘flies back’ to those she loves the most. In Female Heroism, West both challenges and supports the views articulated in these works. While West shows Corday to be capable of imitating the civic-minded republican, the emotional struggle she faces in the aftermath of her  crime  evidences her embodiment of the private sentiments fostered by Chelonice and Almeyda. Her characterisation is consequently fraught with ambivalence. The affliction she experiences following her exercise of masculine impartiality might be viewed on the one hand as a sign of feminine weakness: it likens her, after all, to Davids’ image of Portia. Yet, it is possible to interpret Corday’s anguish 83  Hannah Cowley, The Fate of Sparta; or, the Rival Kings. A tragedy. As it is acted at the Theatre-Royal, in Drury-Lane (London: G. G. J. and J. Robinson, 1788), II.i.22. 84  Sophia Lee, Almeyda: Queen of Granada. A Tragedy (London: W. Woodfall, 1796), I.i.10. 85  Lee, Almeyda, I.i.13.

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simultaneously as an indication of her Christian virtue, and concurrent kinship with the newly fashioned republican hero that comes to usurp the outmoded stoic prototype on the early nineteenth-century stage. Corday’s devotion to the model of disinterested patriotism characterising the classical republican hero is conveyed explicitly in Act 2 scene 1. Like Eyre, West grants Corday a lover, by the name of Clerville. In contrast to Eyre’s heroine, however, West’s Corday is driven to the public sphere not on account of her lover, but in spite of him. When Clerville learns of Corday’s plans to kill Marat, he urges Corday to think of her ‘parents and friends’ before performing a crime destined to send her to the guillotine. In response to his caution, Corday responds, Friends dost thou say? And parents? Know that poiz’d In reason’s balance, France outweighs them all! She is our dearest parent. Filial love Flies on the wings of duty to her succour, And feeling only for her danger, slights All meaner ties. […] Hence Brutus stabb’d his friend; Timoleon hence his brother slew.86

Corday’s readiness to abnegate her local affections for the purpose of her country, the ‘dearest parent’ of all, evidences her wholehearted commitment to the republican sentiments outlined by Bowles and espoused by Godwin and Holcroft. Problematically, however, in subscribing to this utilitarian model, Corday jettisons the private sentiments considered natural and virtuous to her sex. As such, she renders herself scarcely distinguishable from the unsexed Corday created by the Jacobins: her ‘philosophic mania’ and concern with ‘the politics of nations’ is shown to rid her of ‘the temperament, the character, the duties, the tastes and the inclinations of [her] sex’.87 Corday’s implied preoccupation with philosophy and politics is nonetheless nuanced by West, who complicates his heroine’s surface masculinity by drawing on the contemporary trend of painting Corday as an agent

 West, Female Heroism, II.i.12-13.  Gazette de France Nationale, 20 July 1793, in Marrinan, ‘Images and Ideas’, 161.

86 87

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of God.88 Justifying her plans to kill Marat in an early conversation with Fauchet, the equivalent of Eyre’s Dumiel, West’s Corday declares, I’m not the first weak instrument of vengeance That Heav’n selected from our feebler race To blast the triumph of its guilty foes. By Jael’s hand the warlike Sisera Inglorious died: Bethulia’s honour’d Matron, Ev’n in the midst of his victorious host, Slew Holofernes, and redeem’d her country!89

Like the Biblical figures of Jael and Judith, Corday views her defeat of the tyrant as a mission dictated by God: she must kill Marat as she has been ‘Heav’n selected’ to do so.90 Keeping her piety at the forefront of audiences’ minds as the play progresses, West subsequently parallels his heroine with the Christian martyr Joan of Arc, when referring to her as ‘th’immortal Maid of Orleans’.91 Moreover, after stabbing Marat, Corday declares that ‘Heav’n’s offended justice nerv’d/this arm, and guided to his heart the blow!’92 By aligning Corday with Christian martyrs such as Judith and Jael, West comfortingly downplays his heroine’s masculine 88  Corday is compared to Judith in James Gillray’s cartoon The heroic Charlotte La Cordé, upon her trial (1793) and Isaac Cruikshank compares her to Joan of Arc in his image A Second Jean d’Arc or the assassination of Marat by Charlotte Cordé of Caen in Normandy (1793). The latter image can be accessed via the Britihs Museum’s website: https://www. britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1898-0527-167. In his poem July Thirteenth. Charlotte Corde executed for putting Marat to death (1798) Robert Southey similarly depicts Corday as an agent of God. See Robert Southey: Poetical Works, 1793-1810, ed. Lynda Pratt, Tim Fulford and Daniel Roberts, 5 vols (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2004), V:220-221. 89  West, Female Heroism, I.ii.9. 90  Under God’s instruction, Judith beheaded the tyrant Holofernes, and Jael stabbed Sisera in the skull with a tent peg. Both women are discussed in Nielsen, Women Warriors, xiii-xiv. For more on Biblical female assassins see Margarita Stocker, Judith, Sexual Warrior: Women and Power in Western Culture (New Haven: Yale UP, 1998). 91  West, Female Heroism, I.ii.10. Whether Joan of Arc was inspired by God or the devil had been a matter of contention in eighteenth-century Britain. A mock epitaph for Joan published in 1790 began with the claim: ‘here lies Joan of arc, the which/some count saint, and some count witch’. See Frobisher’s new select collection of epitaphs: Humorous, Whimsical, Moral and Satirical (London: Nathl Frobisher, 1790), 105. Joan was eventually accepted as a ‘delegate of heaven’ after being labelled as such in Robert Southey’s Joan of Arc: An Epic Poem (Bristol: Bulgin and Rosser, 1796), see 64. On Joan of Arc’s changing reputation in Britain see Marina Warner, Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism (London: Vintage, 1991). 92  West, Female Heroism, III.i.28.

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inclinations and martial autonomy: Corday exercises a vigorous form of piety for which women were being increasingly praised at the close of the eighteenth century, and her murderous quest is not embarked on independently, but is coerced by an immortal male agent.93 Perhaps even more importantly for the purpose of this study, Corday’s identity as a devoted Christian disciple allows West to furnish his heroine with an emotional capacity congruent both with feminine sensibilities, and with the nascent model of republican heroism that was making itself known upon the British stage. When it came to universal benevolence, Christianity and republicanism were peculiar bedfellows. Strict models of impartial philanthropy associated with the abstract idealism of revolutionary France fed into Christian teachings on universal love. Outlining this nexus in 1789, Dissenting Minister Richard Price asserted that, through both his actions and his teachings, God ‘recommended […] universal benevolence’ as an ‘unspeakably nobler principle than any partial affections’.94 Six years later, Presbyterian author Joseph Fawcett insisted that conduct dictated by ‘the capricious preference of this or that peculiar man’, was ‘not entitled in any degree to the appellation of goodness or charity’ practised by true Christians.95 As Benjamin Thompson and Robert Lamb have shown, even the rigid model of impartiality advocated in Godwin’s iconic Fénelon passage of his  Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793) is embedded as much in religious doctrine as it is in rationalist philosophy.96 In his Sermons, West further demonstrates the synergy between Christian and republican models of universal love. Though entirely hostile to the French revolutionaries, whom he berates as ‘monsters’ guilty of transforming France into ‘the seat of sorrows and theatre of horrors’, West nonetheless subscribes to a framework of benevolence befitting republican precepts.97 And he does so on forthrightly 93  On women’s affiliation in the 1790s with an increasingly militarised model of Christianity see Emma Major, Madam Britannia: Women, Church, and Nation 1712-1812 (Oxford: OUP, 2012), 272-303. I revisit the theme of women as agents of God in chapter 6. 94  Richard Price, A Discourse on the Love of our Country (London: George Stafford, 1789), 8. 95  Joseph Fawcett, Sermons Delivered at the Sunday Evening Lecture, for the winter season, at the old Jewry, 2 vols (London: J. Johnson, 1795), II:153, 154. 96  See Benjamin Thompson and Robert Lamb, ‘Disinterestedness and Virtue: “Pure Love” in Fénelon, Rousseau, and Godwin’, History of Political Thought, vol.  32, no.  5 (2011), 799-819. 97  Matthew West, Sermons on Various Subjects, dedicated by permission to the Right hon. Bishop of Kildare, 2 vols (Dublin: Hibernia Press Office, J. Cumming, 1819), I:283.

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Biblical grounds. Echoing his radical compatriots, West instructs his readers that ‘our charity should be comprehensive and impartial—should listen to no distinctions or prejudices’.98 He states that as God cares for the entire human race, and would never ‘check the animated zeal and ardour of his charity, till he has first coldly enquired […] “who is my neighbour’”, he will often instruct his earthly disciples to emulate his impartiality for the sake of the general good.99 The devout Christian must therefore be willing to relinquish ‘at the Divine command all that is dear to him’, and to fulfil ‘the sacraments [God] has ordained’ without allowing his religious fervour to be ‘combated by human attachments’.100 Arguably, in Female Heroism, these teachings are put into practice: appreciating that Christianity ‘condemns a devoted attachment to any temporal blessing’, as obedience to God is too often disrupted ‘by human attachments’, Corday ‘banish[es] each thought that combats duty’, and, in obedience to God’s command, thinks only of ‘France and Liberty’.101 While West’s Christian hero shares evident affinities with the classical republican patriot, the former figure diverges subtly but significantly from the original Roman ideal, in a manner further befitting West’s characterisation of his female assassin. The archetypal Roman patriot was defined by a stoic demeanour upheld both during and following private sacrifice. Such inflexibility is exemplified in early dramatisations of Cato and Brutus, by Joseph Addison and Nathaniel Lee. In each play, the titular protagonist ‘triumphs in the midst of all his sufferings’ with a ‘steadiness of mind’. 102 The protagonists’ love of nation is shown to surpass private ties to such an extent that Rome fills ‘his eyes/with tears that flowed not o’er his own dead son’.103 In his Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), Adam Smith emphasises the importance of the Roman patriot’s steadfast response to private grief in determining his ‘heroic magnanimity’, when making the observation:  West, Sermons, II:157.  Ibid., I:217. 100  Ibid., I:114; II:40. 101  Ibid., I:57; II:40; West, Female Heroism, II.i.14. 102  Joseph Addison, Cato. A Tragedy. As it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, by Her Majesty’s servants (London: J. Tonson, 1713), I.iv.10. 103  Addison, Cato, IV.i.53. See also Nathaniel Lee, Lucius Junius Brutus; Father of his Country. A Tragedy (London: Richard Tonson and Jacob Tonson, 1681), V.ii.66. On these plays see Julie Ellison, Cato’s Tears and the Making of Anglo-American Emotion (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), 35-57. 98 99

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Cato […] never shrinking from his misfortunes, never supplicating with the lamentable voice of wretchedness those miserable sympathetic tears, […] but on the contrary, arming himself with manly fortitude, […] appears […] a spectacle which even the Gods themselves might behold with pleasure and admiration.104

In agreement with Addison and Lee, Smith shows the republican’s ‘heroic magnanimity’ to be measurable not only by his willingness to suffer personal loss for the benefit of the public weal, but by his ability to uphold his ‘manly fortitude’ while dealing with personal anguish. A schism is here detectable between West’s Christian hero and the classical Roman ideal. In Political Justice, Godwin had commended Brutus’ utilitarian act of putting ‘his sons to death in the first year of the Republic’ for epitomising ‘that energy and virtue for which his country was afterwards so eminently distinguished’.105 Chiming with Godwin, West goes as far as to suggest in Sermons that the Christian hero who is unremitting in his service to religion should not be deterred from ‘plunging a dagger into a heart’ of ‘so dear a relative’, if ‘it please God’ for him to do so.106 There is a fundamental distinction, however, between West’s Christian perpetrator of infanticide and the republican model described by Godwin: while Godwin’s ideal citizen regards compunction prompted by personal loss as being among the ‘imperfections of human nature’, West presents emotional torment following private grievance as a defining characteristic of the virtuous Christian hero.107 The Christian martyr’s ‘very tenderness and benevolence for his fellow creatures’, writes West, ‘plants additional thorns in his bosom’ when practising impartial benevolence.108 As such, To shed a few tears over those we justly loved is so far from being a crime that it is in some measure a duty – Jesus wept. That conscious and benevolent heart which bled for national calamities felt likewise for private distress.109 104  Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759-1790), eds. D.  D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie (Oxford: OUP, 1976), 48. 105  William Godwin, An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, 2 vols (Dublin: Luke White, 1793) I:87. On Godwin and classical republicanism see Sachs, Romantic Antiquity, 51-74. 106  West, Sermons, I:323. West alludes to the story of Abraham and Isaac to illustrate this point. On Abraham and Isaac see Genesis 22:1-18, King James Bible. 107  Godwin, Political Justice, I:79. 108  West, Sermons, II:221. 109  Ibid., II:343.

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As the statement makes clear, West’s Christian hero nurtures both public and private sentiments. Unlike the stoic republican, whose heart ‘bled for national calamities’ but not for ‘private distress’, West’s Christian hero possesses such love for individuals that he cannot endure private sacrifice without shedding tears. It is precisely this image to which West’s Corday adheres at the close of Female Heroism. Having sacrificed her familial obligations to succeed in her patriotic task, Corday responds not with ‘manly fortitude’, but with a display of mental anguish. Following her execution of Marat, Clerville contemplates how to break the news of Corday’s impending execution to her aging father. At this point, Corday is overwhelmed with ‘regret and unavailing softness’. She confesses, There – There indeed This heart is wrung with anguish – O my father, Who now shall watch o’er thy declining years […] and gently smooth the passage to thy grave? […] Now strangers shall perform that pious office! Now, far, far distant from those lov’d remains Shall rest thy luckless child!110

Like West’s Christian disciple, Corday fulfils the sacrificial duty instructed of her by God, yet she is unable to do so with stoic resolve. On account of her piety, she possesses ‘tenderness and benevolence’ for her ‘fellow creatures’ which prohibit her from placing impartial sentiments before private ties without experiencing ‘thorns in [her] bosom’. While she is consequently differentiated from figures such as Cowley’s Chelonice and Lee’s Almeyda in terms of what she performs, she is comparable to them in terms of what she feels. This pious version of Corday thereby enables a reconciliation of universal philanthropy and familial sensibilities. Evading charges of androgyny, Corday demonstrates through her exhibition of filial affection that she is still in possession of ‘sentimental love’ and its ‘soft emotions’. The defence of her femininity is accordingly indubitable. Yet, whether or not West’s heroine lives up to the heroic and republican characterisation promised in the tragedy’s preface is somewhat less determinate. By responding to private grievances with ‘miserable sympathetic tears’, Corday separates  West, Female Heroism, IV.iii.39.

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herself overtly from the prototypal Roman patriot eulogised by Lee, Addison and Smith. Exhibiting lamentations comparable to those of Davids’ Portia, West’s tragedy might be accused of enforcing the gendered polarity communicated in the canvas: lingering beneath his heroine’s tears is the suggestion that while women may be able to act like men, they will always feel like women, and their exercise of civic virtue will thus inevitably result in unbearable contrition. ‘My Heart is Bursting’: The Sentimentalised Roman Protagonist on the early Nineteenth-Century Stage This gendered reading of the play’s denouement is complicated, however, by an assessment of revisions made to the male republican hero on the turn-of-the-nineteenth-century British stage. While West’s weeping Christian hero is distinct from the austere Roman patriot recognised in the early 1790s as the embodiment of republican heroism, by the time that Female Heroism appeared on stage in 1804, the Christian ideal, and the republican ideal, had to a large extent converged. In 1800, Godwin indicated a change in the sentiments he had endorsed in 1793, when writing that the first edition of Political Justice had been ‘blemished principally’ by its emphasis on ‘stoicism’ and its ‘unqualified condemnation of the private affections’.111 Godwin’s apology for the features that had shaped his original treatise reflects the severe denigration by 1800, in Britain and France alike, of models of patriotism that, to quote Edmund Burke, encouraged citizens to be ‘lovers of their kind’ yet ‘haters of their kindred’.112 With the traditions of ancient Rome and Sparta having been used during Robespierre’s Republic of Virtue to justify political violence and brutality, classical values became detachable from the Terror, and were subsequently spurned in Britain, even by former advocates of extreme radical agendas.113 As the language of republican virtue was so deeply entrenched in classical 111  Quoted in Mark Philp, Godwin’s Political Justice (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1986),142. See also 120-159 and 193-228 for a comprehensive discussion of Godwin’s shifting views. 112  Edmund Burke, A Letter from Mr. Burke, to a Member of the National Assembly; in answer to some objections to his book on French affairs (London: J. Dodsley, 1791), 37. 113  See Philp, Reforming Ideas,120; Philp, ‘English republicanism’, 235-262; Ayres, Classical Culture, 1-47; Claeys, Citizens and Saints, 28-29; Evan Radcliffe, ‘Saving ideals: Revolution and Benevolence in “The Prelude’”, The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, vol.  93, no.  4 (October 1994), 534-559; Jones, Radical Sensibility, 101-109; Baxter, ‘Two Brutuses’, 51-77; and Baker, ‘Transformations of Classical Republicanism’, 32-53.

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values, the Roman models could not be jettisoned entirely. Rather, as Amy Denise Baxter demonstrates, the classical ideal of ‘austere stoic masculinity’ was subtly modified so as to embrace ‘the affective bonds of home and community’.114 While ‘the Reign of Terror had been the reign of Brutus’, and had privileged ‘stoicism above sentiment’, the era of republicanism that followed maintained its underlying precepts but emphasised familial and private sentiments as integral components of virtue.115 Cecilia Feilla has shown this re-envisaging of classical ideals to have repercussions in the theatre. Feilla explains that while the Roman protagonist exhibited on stage continued to endure familial sacrifice for the nation’s welfare, he was now deemed ‘heroic not for his stoic action but for the suffering he endures as a consequence of his great sensitivity’.116 Only if he experienced distress when placing national duties before private sentiments could the republican hero distinguish himself from his savage Jacobinical predecessor, who could ‘cast away his children’ without ‘one natural pang’.117 Therefore, continues Feilla, by the turn of the nineteenth century, the virtuous patriot came to be ‘defined less by the stoic resolve and self-mastery he exhibits, than by the visible pain and heroic suffering’ occasioned ‘by the painful sacrifice required of republican politics’.118 Ultimately, while the protagonist continued to practise civic virtue, he no longer did so with a display of ‘manly fortitude’. This newly sentimentalised protagonist that Feilla locates in France is equally identifiable on the turn-of-the-century British stage. Charles Kemble’s tragedy The Point of Honour (Haymarket; 1800) is a case in point. Kemble’s play presents as its protagonist the army officer St Franc who is forced by his duty to his country to sentence his son to death. Attempting to uphold a stoic demeanour, St Franc convinces himself that he must perform his task as ‘justice is inflexible and knows no distinction’.119  Baxter, ‘Two Brutuses’, 55.  Ibid., 68. Also on post-Thermidor family-orientated models of republican patriotism see Desan, Family on Trial, 249-255. 116  Feilla, Sentimental Theatre, 179. See also Feilla’s ‘Sympathy Pains: Filicide and the Spectacle of Male Heroic Suffering on the Eighteenth-Century Stage’, in Staging Pain, 1580-1800: Violence and Trauma in British Theatre, eds. James Robert Allard and Matthew R. Martin (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009), 151-167. 117  Burke, Letter from Mr Burke, to a Member of the National Assembly, 35. 118  Feilla, Sentimental Theatre, 182. 119  Charles Kemble, The Point of Honour, a play, in three acts, taken from the French, and performed with universal applause at the Theatre-Royal, Hay-Market (London: A. Strahan, 1800), II.ii.36. 114 115

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Like West’s Corday, however, St Franc struggles to relinquish his familial sentiments. Conveying the tension between his national duties and his paternal affections, he declares, It is decreed that he who basely quits the colours of his country merits death […] – Oh! God! oh! God! – Must I then struggle with the fondness thou hast placed about my heart, banish the father from my heaving breast? […] horrible!120

St Franc subsequently condemns his fellow soldiers for their ability to ‘coldly stare and see a father murder his own son’, before diverging further from the classical ideal by ‘fall[ing] exhausted into his son’s arms’. Witnessing his display of overwhelming despair, Valcour, a spectator of the scene, identifies in St Franc the quality of ‘heroic virtue’.121 As with Lee’s Brutus and Addison’s and Smith’s Cato, it is again the protagonist’s response to the task of familial sacrifice that defines him as heroic. Yet, in contrast to the earlier examples, it is not St Franc’s stoic resolve, but his emotional torment, that is shown to constitute his heroism. In the following decade, renditions of Cato and Brutus appeared in London’s patent theatres that further adhered to the sentimentalised characterisation of the republican hero. Following a period of disfavour due to its acquired association with revolutionary ideology, when John Philip Kemble revived Addison’s Cato for Covent Garden in 1811, with himself in the title role, he aroused ‘boundless eclat’ for his softened depiction of the formerly austere protagonist. As a journalist writing for The Morning Chronicle declared, ‘When informed of the death of his son’, the ‘conflict of paternal tenderness and Roman pride was depicted with such’ a ‘lively consciousness of the force of what was uttered’ that the scene was ‘seized on by the house with the most lively emotion’ and ‘four distinct enthusiastic bursts of applause’.122 Seven years later, John Howard Payne’s revised dramatisation of Lee’s Brutus (DL; 1818) received similar accolades for its exhibition of an equally conflicted republican protagonist. Following the execution of Brutus’ son, a stage direction reads, ‘the voice of Brutus falters, and is choked, and he exclaims with violent emotion’,  Kemble, Point of Honour, III.iv.60.  Ibid., III.iv.60, 61. 122  The Morning Chronicle, 28 Jan. 1811. On this performance see Daniel O’Quinn, ‘HalfHistory, or The Function of Cato at the Present Time’, New Situations: The Historicity of the Repertoire, vol. 27, Issue 3-4, (Spring–Summer 2015), 479-507. 120 121

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Romans, forgive this agony of grief  – my heart is bursting  – nature must have way. I will perform all that a Roman should. I cannot feel less than a father ought.123

Brutus then ‘drops in his seat’ before falling to the floor as the fellow ‘characters group around him’.124 Like St Franc and Kemble’s Cato, Payne’s Brutus too experiences psychological torment when faced with the clashing duties of a politician and a father. And again, he is commended for his private sentiments: though Brutus was received largely unfavourably in the Quarterly Review, Payne was nonetheless lauded for presenting in the place of the ‘strained and severe punctilio in Brutus’, with which audiences have ‘become dissatisfied’, a Brutus who proves himself virtuous by giving ‘scope to the most solemn strains of moral declamation’.125 As these examples evince, by the early nineteenth century, Davids’ gender-­divided canvas is freighted with new complexities that transcend implications of gender. The polarity between Portia’s anguish and Brutus’ inflexibility, which had reflected a rigid female/male binary in 1789, is muddied at the turn of the century by evolving understandings of republican virtue/Jacobinical cruelty. In a context in which private affections differentiate the republican hero from the extremist revolutionary villain, Corday’s sentimental outburst at the close of Female Heroism provides a mandatory defence not only of her feminine virtues, but of her humanity in general. Had Corday exhibited the stoic resolve of the classical Roman hero in 1804 she would have been guilty both of relinquishing the characteristics of her sex, and of subscribing to Jacobinical severity. Performed at a time when conceptions of republican virtue are in a state of flux, theatregoers are left to decide for themselves whether Corday’s emotionalism denies, or antithetically confirms, her embodiment of republican heroism. While the gendered implications of the play are thereby indeterminable, what is unequivocal is the opportunity opened up for West in the early 1800s to draw on scriptural teachings in order to negotiate a characterisation for his heroine that confirms her feminine sensitivities, while not disqualifying her from an identification as the heroic and republican patriot that he promises in his preface. 123  John Howard Payne, Brutus: or the Fall of Tarquin (1818), in Cumberland’s British Theatre, 48 vols (London: John Cumberland, 1826), XI: V.iii.48, 49. 124  Payne, Brutus, V.iii.50. 125  Quarterly Review 22 (January 1820), 405, 406.

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‘Be Mine in Politics’: Irish Republicanism, the Act of Union, and Charlotte Corday on the Dublin Stage The Maid of Normandy and Female Heroism were both performed at the Crow Street Theatre, Dublin. Eyre had planned to stage his drama at the Theatre Royal in Bath, yet the play was rejected for performance by John Larpent, who, as his wife Anna Maria declares in her diary, judged the script to be ‘devoid of poetry and judgement’ and ‘highly improper just now were it otherwise’.126 Larpent’s opinion of the play as ‘improper’ for the stage resounded in reviews printed in English newspapers and periodicals. A journalist writing for the Analytical Review warned that the tragedy’s theme was capable of ‘inflaming party rage’, and a writer for The Monthly Review concurred that by recounting ‘recent events’, Eyre ‘converts the stage from instrument of amusement into a field of political altercation’.127 Describing at length the insidiousness of the tragedy’s subject matter, the journalist for The Monthly Review continued, we should be inclined to censure the play before us on account of its design alone, without any regard to its literary merit: for we cannot perceive any one valuable end, either of amusement or instruction, which is likely to be answered by so soon acting, on the dramatic stage, the shocking tragedy which has so recently been performed on the political theatre of France.128

The journalist’s reproach reflects contemporary anxieties regarding theatrical representations of the French Revolution even in overtly loyalist narratives. As exemplified previously with reference to Venice Preserved, the political meaning intended for a play could be manipulated entirely by audiences’ vocal and public reactions to certain speeches and scenes.129 By responding enthusiastically to dramatisations of Jacobin cruelty, theatregoers were able to metamorphosise dramas designed to deter and 126  Anna Margaretta Larpent, diary entry for 14 April 1794, in A Woman’s View of Drama, 1790-1830: The Diaries of Anna Margaretta Larpent in the Huntington Library, 16 vols (Marlborough: Adam Matthews publications, 1995), vol. I. Microfilm edition, reel 1 of 9. Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York. 127  Analytical Review, or History of Literature Domestic and Foreign 18.4 (April 1794), 481; The Monthly Review, Or Literary Journal 14 (August 1794), 467. 128  Monthly Review, 467. 129  See Introduction.

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denigrate revolutionary zeal into vehicles for opposition. Therefore, despite Eyre’s explicit attack on Marat and Robespierre, The Maid of Normandy was considered ‘highly improper’ for the English stage: one cheer in favour of the Queen’s execution and the drama could be transformed into a celebration of the monarchy’s demise.130 This reticence to stage political drama, however, did not extend to Ireland’s patent theatre, which was outside of the Lord Chamberlain’s control.131 John Hall Stewart has shown the most popular play performed in Dublin between 1791 and 1794 to be William Preston’s Democratic Rage; or, Louis the Unfortunate (1793), a tragedy which ran from June to December 1793 at the Crow Street Theatre.132 Like Maid, Democratic Rage recounts events in revolutionary France including the imprisonment of the Royal family and the execution of Louis XVI.133 While Eyre’s tragedy was censured in England for its potential provocation of revolt, Preston’s drama was praised in Ireland for providing Dublin’s theatregoers with a valuable piece of conservative propaganda. The author of a letter published in the Irish periodical Jones’s Magazine asserted that, 130  David Worrall has argued that the likelihood of Eyre’s play provoking an oppositional response in 1794 was augmented by the perceived lack of respect shown by the British King and Queen for the victims of a recent stampede at the Haymarket theatre. While the Royal family had refused to show up to any public entertainments following the execution of Louis XVI, they continued to attend theatrical amusements uninterrupted subsequent to the fatal Haymarket crisis, and this was likely to impact audiences’ responses to loyalist plays. See Worrall, Theatric Revolution: Drama, Censorship, and Romantic Period Subcultures, 1773-1832 (Oxford: OUP, 2006), 130. Also on the stampede see Charles Beecher Hogan, The London Stage, 1776-1800: A Critical Introduction (Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1968), xxix. 131   On theatre censorship in eighteenth/nineteenth-century Ireland see Christopher Murray and Martin Drury, ‘National Theatre Systems: Ireland’, in Theatre Worlds in Motion: Structures, Politics and Developments in the Countries of Western Europe, eds. H. Van Maanen and S. E. Wilmer (Rodopi: Amsterdam, 1998), 329-382. Also on eighteenth-century Irish theatre see Helen Burke, Riotous Performances: The Struggle for Hegemony in the Irish Theater, 1712-1784 (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003); Burke, ‘Jacobin Revolutionary Theatre and the Early Circus: Astley’s Dublin Amphitheatre in the 1790s’, Theatre Research International, Issue 01 (March 2006), 1-16; Christopher Morash, A History of Irish Theatre, 1601-2000 (Cambridge: CUP, 2002), 30-93; and Susan Cannon Harris, ‘Clearing the stage: Gender, Class and the Freedom of the Scenes in EighteenthCentury Dublin’, PMLA, vol. 19, no. 5 (October 2004), 1264-1278. 132  See John Hall Stewart, ‘The French Revolution on the Dublin Stage, 1790-94’, The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, vol. 91, no. 2 (1961), 188-189. 133  See William Preston, Democratic Rage; or, Louis the Unfortunate (Dublin: Graisberry and Campbell, 1793).

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Nothing can be better timed than the publication of this poem, at a season when so much pains have been taken to disseminate the baneful poison of republican principle, so that, abstracting from the poetical merit, which it possesses in a high degree, I would recommend this production to your readers as a judicious and useful political pamphlet.134

In direct contrast to the hostile reviews of Maid, the Irish periodical celebrates Preston’s tragedy as a necessary antidote to revolutionary ideals. Nothing but good can be seen to result from the tragedy’s condemnation of ‘the baneful poison of republican principle’, and the drama is thereby commended as a ‘judicious and useful’ form of literature. Nielsen has argued that Maid’s acceptance for performance in Dublin indicates the contrasting political situations in England and Ireland at the time of the play’s submission.135 In 1794, with the treason trials underway, and authors and distributors of radical literature being threatened with prosecution, English radicalism was beginning to wane.136 Thereby, to stage a play that voiced, yet fundamentally rebuked revolutionary precepts, was to run the risk of reigniting radical zeal.137 Conversely, the emergence of the United Irishmen, who decried Britain’s war with France and communicated with the Jacobin club and the Convention about the formation of an Irish Republic, meant the situation in Dublin remained politically turbulent.138 At a time when efforts had to be made in Ireland to quell the ongoing dissemination of ‘the baneful poison of republican principle’, Maid consequently matched Preston’s tragedy in providing the 134  Letter signed by Criticus, printed in Jones’s Magazine (June 1795), cited in Hall Stewart, ‘The French Revolution on the Dublin Stage’, 190. 135  See Wendy C. Nielsen, ‘Edmund Eyre’s The Maid of Normandy; or, Charlotte Corday in Anglo-Irish Docudrama’, Comparative Drama, vol. 40, no. 2 (Summer 2006), 182, 183. 136  On the decline of London radicalism see Gregory Claeys, The French Revolution Debate in Britain: The Origins of Modern Politics (Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 79-80, 92-97. 137  See my introduction. 138  On the United Irishmen see Ian McBride, Eighteenth-Century Ireland: The Isle of Slaves (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 2009), 359-368; McBride, Scripture Politics: Ulster Presbyterians and Irish Radicalism in the late Eighteenth Century (Oxford: OUP, 1998), 165-206; Nancy J. Curtin, The United Irishmen: Popular Politics in Ulster and Dublin, 1791-1798 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 38-66; Marianne Elliot, Partners in Revolution: The United Irishmen and France (New Haven: Yale UP, 1982), 1-74; and Georges Denis Zimmerman, Songs of Irish Rebellion: Political Street Ballads and Rebel Songs, 1780-1900 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2002), 36-43.

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Crow Street Theatre with a welcome opponent of United Irish arguments, capable of nullifying the force of the faction’s propaganda. While Eyre’s tragedy had thus intervened in Irish politics only adventitiously, West may have been more intentional about his tragedy’s ideological functioning upon the Dublin stage. In the 1790s, West resided in the Irish town of Clane in Country Kildare.139 Clane was one of the areas worst affected by riots during the Irish rebellion of May 1798, led by the United Irishmen. 140 Numerous lives were lost during the uprising, and West himself became a victim of the event when his residence—Vicar Hall—was damaged by the rioters.141 In all likelihood, West was entirely hostile to the rebellious sect who extolled the revolution he despised and caused such devastation in his hometown. And yet, this is not to say that he opposed the rioters’ anti-unionist leanings. Liam Chambers has observed that ‘the anti-union group’ in Ireland was ‘composed of strange bedfellows’.142 Ardent Irish liberals who admired republicanism and sought a reformed Irish parliament were joined by far more conservative anti-unionists who fervently opposed United Irish activity and contested the union in order to secure the ascendancy’s control over Irish affairs.143 The dedication printed in Female Heroism gestures towards West’s affiliation with this latter group. West addressed his tragedy to the Irish Whig politician John La Touche: a conservative opponent of the union with whom West had held ‘a friendship, almost paternal’ for ‘near thirty years’, and whom he praises in his preface for being ‘serviceable to [his] country’.144 Surmising a congruity between the play’s national agenda, and the political loyalties of its dedicatee, I make a case for reading Female Heroism as a tragedy that conceals a covertly embedded strain of Irish oppositional politics beneath the guise of an explicitly Francophobic narrative.  See Wallace (ed.), Clergy of Meath and Kildare, 831.  On the rebellion of ’98 see Curtin, United Irishmen, 228-229; McBride, Scripture Politics, 165-206, and Elliot, Partners, 163-240. 141  See Sullivan, ‘Clane ’98’, in Fugitive Warfare, ed. Cullen and Hermann, 163-173. On the damage to West’s home see 170. 142  Liam Chambers, Rebellion in Kildare, 1790-1803 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1998), 107. 143  See Chambers, Rebellion, 45-46. 144  West, Female Heroism, iv. Chambers shows La Touche to have been among a number of anti-unionists from Kildare, including John Wolfe, who sought to defend the county against the United Irishmen’s attacks in May 1797 by petitioning to place the area under martial law. See ibid., 45-46. 139 140

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My interpretation of Female Heroism as an anti-union polemic is formed centrally of a close reading of Act 3 scene 1: Marat’s attempted rape of Charlotte Corday. Constituting a curious historical fabrication in a play that West otherwise claimed to stick ‘comfortably to fact’, it is my conjecture that West saw in Eyre’s fictionalised rape narrative an opportunity for political allusion that the scene had previously lacked.145 The implementation of rape as a metaphor for unlawful colonisation has been identified as a pervasive literary trope. Margarita Stocker outlines that ‘in the fundamental plot of tyranny the female body […] symbolised the body politic’, and thus, ‘when a tyrant indulged in rape he was figuratively performing rapine upon the nation itself’.146 While the allegory of rape features prevalently in eighteenth-century British drama, it becomes equally ubiquitous in Irish literature and art circulating in the years surrounding the 1801 Act of Union.147 The 1801 merger of England and Ireland was driven by English trepidation of an Irish revolution. In the aftermath of the ’98 rebellion, England feared political altercation with Ireland, and believed that the surest way to vanquish the possibility of any further insurrection was to form a political union between the two nations.148 Pro-unionists were insistent that they acted with Ireland’s best interest at heart. They claimed that it was owing to their affection for Ireland that they wished to see the nation partake in the glories of the British constitution. Proponents of this stance depicted  West, Female Heroism, vi.  Stocker, Judith, 93. 147  On the rape trope in eighteenth-century drama see for instance Jennifer L. Airey, The Politics of Rape: Sexual Atrocity, Propaganda Wars, and the Restoration Stage (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2012); Airey, ‘Staging Rape in the Age of Walpole: Sexual Violence and the Politics of Dramatic Adaptation in 1730s Britain’, in Interpreting Sexual Violence, 1660-1800, ed. Anne Greenfield (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2013), 95-106; Susan J. Owen, Restoration Theatre and Crisis (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 175-182; Owen, ‘“He that should guard my virtue has betrayed it”: The Dramatization of Rape in the Exclusion Crisis’, RECTR, vol. 9, no. 1 (Summer 1994), 59-69; and Owen, ‘“Suspect my loyalty when I lose my virtue”: Sexual Politics and Party in Aphra Behn’s Plays of the Exclusion Crisis’, Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700, vol. 18, no. 1 (Spring 1994), 37-47. 148  On the motives behind the union see James Kelly, ‘The Act of Union: its origin and background’, in Acts of Union: The Causes, Contexts, and Consequences of The Act of Union, eds. Daire Keogh and Kevin Whelan (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2001), 46-66; and Kelly, ‘The Historiography of the Act of Union’, in The Irish Act of Union, 1800: Bicentennial Essays, eds. Michael Brown, Patrick M. Geoghegan, and James Kelly (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2003), 5-36. 145 146

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the union as wholly advantageous to Ireland, and envisaged Ireland’s voluntary entrance into the partnership. Anti-unionists, however, suspected dissimulation, and argued that England’s claims of fondness and promises of future prosperity were used to mask the ulterior motive behind the union: this being the destruction of the Irish parliament. Fearing disingenuousness, anti-unionists expressed Ireland’s unwillingness to enter into the partnership and saw the union as a measure that could only be achieved by coercion.149 The differing attitudes towards the relationship that the union had or would form between Ireland and England were prevalently negotiated in domestic terms. As Jane Elizabeth Dougherty has shown, ‘the Act of Union was consistently depicted as a marriage, with England as the groom and Ireland as the bride’.150 Unionists portrayed the marriage as a loving and happy partnership in order to imply the verity of England’s promises and to justify the legitimacy of the merger by intimating Ireland’s consent. The nuptial imagery was employed quite ­differently, however, by anti-unionists, who, intent on proving the union to be illicit, preferred the trope of forced marriage or rape.151 In 1799, the satirist Peter Pindar offered a comical exemplification of these domestic tropes in his parodic and unstaged drama The Triple Alliance: or, John Bull’s disappointment (1799). The drama has the tyrannical John Bull confine Hibernia to a cave, in ‘galling chains’, before attempting to force her into marriage, despite her insistence that she ‘will 149  See Thomas Bartlett, ‘Britishness, Irishness and the Act of Union’, in Acts of Union, eds. Keogh and Whelan, 243-258; and Jane Elizabeth Dougherty, ‘Mr and Mrs England: The Act of Union as National Marriage’, in ibid., 202-215. 150  Dougherty, ‘Mr and Mrs England’, 202. One of the most familiar uses of this allegory appears in Sydney Owenson’s novel The Wild Irish Girl (1806). The marriage of the English protagonist, Mortimer, to the Irish girl, Glorvinia, is described in political terms, as being ‘prophetically typical of a national unity of interests and affections between those who may be factiously severe, but who are naturally allied’. See Owenson, The Wild Irish Girl: A National Tale (1806), eds. Claire Connolly and Stephen Copley (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2000), 241. 151  See Nancy J. Curtin, ‘Women and Eighteenth-Century Irish Republicanism’, in Women in Early Modern Ireland, eds. Margaret MacCurtain and Mary O’Dowd (Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 1991), 133-136; Jim Hansen, Terror and Irish Modernism: The Gothic Tradition from Burke to Beckett (New York: State University of New  York Press, 2009), 15-17; and L. Perry Curtis, ‘The Four Erins: Feminine Images of Ireland, 1780-1900’, EireIreland; A Journal of Irish Studies, vol. 33/34 (1998), 73. For visual examples of the marriage trope and rape trope respectively, see Anon., Union Between England and Ireland!! (London: W. Holland, 1799); and Anon., ‘A Trail for a Rape!!! (London: William Holland, 1799), both reproduced in Keogh and Whelan (eds.), Acts of Union, as plate 1 and plate 7.

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not to Johnny Bull be wed: nor force shall drag [her] to his hated bed’.152 While starkly contrasting with Female Heroism in its light-hearted exposé of implied governmental misdemeanours, striking similarities exist between the narrative components of Pindar’s overt allegory of the English-Irish merger and West’s outwardly Francophobic tragedy.153 Providing a useful dramatic framework against which to assess domestic figurations of Anglo-­ Irish relations, I shall precede my return to Female Heroism with an analysis of the familial tropes informing Triple Alliance. Pindar’s satire indicates early on the selfish motives fuelling John Bull’s desire for a union with Hibernia. Just as England viewed Ireland as a political threat and sought the union in order to gain control over a potential national adversary, a song delivered in Pindar’s play tells of John Bull’s fear of Irish rebels, and his consequent desire to ‘make all the Croppies lie down’.154 Keen for Hibernia to agree to the union, John Bull aligns himself with the dissimulative England by feigning his love for Hibernia. He informs Hibernia that he loves her ‘more than mortal ever, ever lov’d before’. He then ‘kneels to her’, before asking ‘wilt thou consent—and drive off sorrow, by being Johnny Bull’s […] wife tomorrow?’ Representing oppositional attitudes to the union, Hibernia is disgusted by John Bull’s plea to marry her. She expresses her disdain and distrust of her suitor, when, ‘looking at him with the utmost contempt’, she demands ‘away thou fiend’, and accuses him of having a ‘serpent-guiling tongue’. When John Bull proves unable to achieve his conquest by consent, the nuptial metaphor is supplanted with that of rape. The tyrant threatens Hibernia with the reminder that ‘the lad who courts’ her ‘could sink [her], and turn all his love to hate’.155 Then, proving the force of his words, ‘John Bull is heard inside the cave, struggling with Hibernia’, while she demands ‘loose me! Unhand me ruffian!’ before repeating, ‘I’ll never wed, nor shall you

152  Peter Pindar, The Triple Alliance: or, John Bull’s disappointment (Dublin: anon., 1799), I.ii.10, 15. 153  On Pindar’s biting anti-government satires, yet ultimate loyalism, see John Barrell, The Spirit of Despotism: Invasions of Privacy in the 1790s (Oxford: OUP, 2006), 137-138. 154  Pindar, Triple Alliance, I.i.5. ‘Croppies lie Down’ is a loyalist folk song which emerged during the 1798 Irish rebellion in celebration of the rebels’ defeat. It is reproduced in The Patriotic Songster: Containing a choice collection of the most admired loyal, patriotic and constitutional songs (Strabane: Joseph Alexander, 1815), 29-30. The song is discussed in Burke, ‘Jacobin Revolutionary Theatre’, 13. 155  Pindar, Triple Alliance, II.ii.12.

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force me to the marriage bed’.156 Substituting the marriage metaphor with the trope of attempted rape, Pindar’s satire playfully counters perceptions of the union as an equal and mutually beneficial partnership and illuminates the unlawful lengths to which England will stretch in order to gain control over Ireland. The imagery of marriage and rape utilised by Pindar is employed almost identically in West’s Female Heroism. Like Hibernia to John Bull, Corday poses a political threat to Marat because that she is ‘a Brissotin, and a Girondist’.157 Desperate to eradicate the challenge, Marat—like England— requests a union with Corday, in the form of a marriage proposal. Having informed the audience in an aside of his motive to ‘devote [Corday] to the axe’ if she will not be pacified, Marat reveals his fraudulent character when attempting to convince Corday that he is ‘in love’ with her, and that ‘’tis happiness [he] offer[s]’. Like John Bull, Marat then ‘kneels and attempts to take [Corday’s] hand’, while proposing that she ‘Be mine in politics, and share at once/the heart, the hopes, and greatness of Marat’.158 The language of the proposal is strongly reminiscent of the terms in which the union was negotiated: by amalgamating the language of politics and love, and issuing the promise of shared ‘greatness’, Marat pledges to Corday precisely that which was being vowed to Ireland by the unionists. Yet, like Hibernia, Corday is not fooled by her wooer’s declarations, and she responds to the proposal with animosity. Wise to Marat’s ‘delusive theories’, Corday retorts, ‘away thou miscreant—thy love is insult and thy touch pollution’.159 Again, the play’s tyrant subsequently resorts to rape. After threatening that ‘thou shou’dst dread my pow’r!’ Marat demands that Corday must ‘dismiss this virgin coyness, that belies/thy secret wishes’, before leading her to the couch, and ‘laying hold on her’.160 Congruent with Pindar’s allegory up until this point, West extends the national metaphor one step further: if Corday is interpreted in the former part of the rape scene as a symbol of post-union Ireland, the military character she acquires at the close of the scene might be viewed optimistically, as foreboding Ireland’s restoration of its native strength. As historians including Adele Dalsimer and Vera Kreilkamp have explained, Mother  Ibid., II.ii.28.  West, Female Heroism, III.i.25. 158  Ibid., III.i.27. 159  Ibid., III.i.28, 24. 160  Ibid., III.i.28. 156 157

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Ireland was traditionally depicted as a ‘voracious warrior queen’ who ‘haunts the battlefield’. It was only following the ‘final defeat of Jacobite hopes at the battle of the Boyne’ that a ‘new female image emerged to represent the defeated and colonised land’, and that ‘instead of a powerful warrior Queen, nationalist sentiment envisioned an icon of defeat, surrender and helplessness’.161 West’s rape scene inverts this allegorical transformation, turning Corday from sufferer into warrior: when Marat threatens Corday with rape, Corday does not succumb to victimisation, but rather, she eradicates the tyrant, by raising her knife and stabbing him.162 West’s conversion of Corday from victim to warrior interacts with the trend among more zealous anti-unionists to endorse and prophesy Ireland’s resistance to British rule. The years on either side of 1800 saw a number of anti-unionists resurrect the allegory of Ireland as a military woman in order to remind their compatriots of Ireland’s indigenous valour, and to inspire their country to fight against England’s illegitimate conquest. In the image Loyalty Rewarded (1800) [Fig. 4.3] George III is seen lunging towards Hibernia with a phallic looking rifle, imitating the threat of rape. Like West’s Corday, Hibernia does not submit to George’s advances, but challenges George by raising her spear to him. A similar picture of violent female resistance is offered in the street ballad ‘The Patriot Queen’, popular in the early years of the nineteenth century. The ballad traces Ireland’s mistreatment by the ‘bigoted tyrant’ of England, before foreshadowing the return of the country’s vigour, when having Mother Ireland declare, My strength has been daily increasing, […] I’ll brandish my weapons once more; With valour undaunted I’ll conquer, My fetters like thunder shall roar. […] Like Pompey or Caesar in battle I’ll ceaselessly fight for my own.163

161  Adele Dalsimer and Vera Kreilkamp, ‘Re/Dressing Mother Ireland: Feminist Imagery in Art and Literature’, in Re/Dressing Cathleen: Contemporary Works from Irish Women Artists, eds. Jennifer Grinnell and Alston Conley (Boston College: McMullan Museum of Art, October 5-December 7, 1997), 37. See also Lisa M. Bitel, Land of Women: Tales of Sex and Gender from Early Ireland (New York: Cornell UP, 1998), 204-5. 162  See West, Female Heroism, III.i.28. 163  Anon., The Patriot Queen, reproduced in Zimmerman, Songs, 177.

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Fig. 4.3  James Henry Brocas, Loyalty Rewarded (1800). © National Library of Ireland

Again, the author justifies the need for insurrection by depicting Ireland as the victim of English despotism, before reviving the nation’s image as a female warrior in order to infuse Irish patriots with the courage needed to seek justice against England. Considering the manner in which the Act of Union was portrayed by its antagonists, contemporary interpretations of Female Heroism as an anti-­union allegory seem a strong possibility. By reproducing, and subtly modifying Eyre’s fabricated rape narrative, West constructs a political drama which fashions Corday not as the personification of English liberty, as had been the case in conventional loyalist depictions, but as a

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symbol of Ireland’s rightful independence from its unsanctioned union with England. While the Corday presented in the opening half of the rape scene imitates the contemporary image of Hibernia as a violated and oppressed nation, the military Corday depicted at the close of the scene resembles the warlike Hibernia, who became a popular motif among anti-unionists looking both to substantiate and to incite Irish resistance to British dominion. Significantly, this allegorical intervention in discourses on Irish nationhood is disguised beneath the welcome veil of anti-revolutionary propaganda. A rare review of Female Heroism published in Biographia Dramatica; or A Companion to the Playhouse (1812) lauds the way in which ‘the characters of the different Republican tyrants are accurately delineated; particularly that of Robespierre, and the sorrows and persecutions of the widowed Queen and the Royal family are pourtrayed in a very affecting manner’.164 As the review affirms, that which primarily struck and appealed to the tragedy’s contemporaries was West’s condemnation of France’s ‘Republican tyrants’ and moving portrayal of the French monarchy. The review implies that West’s decision to embed his antiunion protest within a narrative maintaining Eyre’s staunchly anti-Jacobin stance was a very artful move. By uniting national and transnational commentaries, West manages to obscure his insinuated rebuke of AngloIrish relations by shrouding it beneath an explicit chastisement of Marat and Robespierre, reminiscent of that offered in Maid. In so doing, he produces a drama that gratifies British loyalists, while concurrently providing potential for a less overt, and therefore less censurable, anti-union polemic.

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Philp Mark, Reforming Ideas in Britain: Politics and Language in the Shadow of the French Revolution, 1789-1815 (Cambridge: CUP, 2014) Philp, Mark, ‘English republicanism in the 1790s’, The Journal of Political Philosophy, vol. 6, no. 3 (1998), 235-262 Philp, Mark, Godwin's Political Justice (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1986) Pindar, Peter, The Triple Alliance: or, John Bull’s disappointment (Dublin: Anon., 1799) Pocock, J. G. A., The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republic Tradition (New Jersey: Princeton UP, 1975) Pocock, J. G. A., Virtue, Commerce and History: Essays on Political Thought and History, Chiefly in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge: CUP, 1985) Pratt, Lynda, Tim Fulford and Daniel Roberts (eds.), Robert Southey: Poetical Works, 1793-1810, 5 vols (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2004) Price, Richard, A Discourse on the Love of our Country (London: George Stafford, 1789) Quinlan, Sean M., ‘Physical and Moral Regeneration after the Terror: Medical Culture, Sensibility, and Family Politics in France, 1794-1804’, Social History, vol. 29, no. 2 (May 2004), 139-164 Radcliffe, Evan, ‘Arguing Benevolence: Wordsworth, Godwin and the 1790s’, in The French Revolution Debate in English Literature and Culture, ed. Lisa Plummer Crafton (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1997), 59-81 Radcliffe, Evan, ‘Revolutionary Writing, Moral Philosophy, and Universal Benevolence in the Eighteenth Century’, Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 54, no. 2 (April 1993), 221-240 Rahe, Paul A., ‘Antiquity Surpassed: The repudiation of classical republicanism’, in Republicanism, Liberty and Commercial Society, 1649-1776, ed. David Wooton (California: Stanford UP, 1994), 233-269 Reid, Christopher, ‘Burke’s Tragic Muse: Sarah Siddons and the “Feminization” of the Reflections’, in Burke and the French Revolution: Bicentennial Essays, ed. Steven Blakemore (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1992), 1-27 Robinson, Mary, Letter to the Women of England, on the injustice of mental subordination. With anecdotes (London: T. N. Longman and O. Rees, 1799) Russell, Gillian, The Theatres of War: Performance, Politics, and Society, 1793-1815 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995) Sachs, Jonathan, Roman Antiquity: Rome in the British Imagination (Oxford: OUP, 2010) Schama, Simon, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution (London: Penguin Books, 1989) Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, The Camp: A Musical Entertainment (1778), in Sheridan’s Plays, ed. Cecil Price (Oxford: OUP, 1975)

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Smith, Adam, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759-1790), eds. D.D.  Raphael and A.L. Macfie (Oxford: OUP, 1976) Smith, Hilda L., All Men and Both Sexes: Gender, Politics, and the False Universal in England, 1640-1832 (USA: Pennsylvania State UP, 2002) Smith, Orianne, Romantic Women Writers, Revolution, and Prophecy: Rebellious Daughters, 1786-1826 (Cambridge: CUP, 2013) Southey, Robert, Joan of Arc: An Epic Poem (Bristol: Bulgin and Rosser, 1796) Stewart, John Hall, ‘The French Revolution on the Dublin Stage, 1790-94’, The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, vol. 91, no. 2 (1961), 183-192 Stocker, Margarita, Judith, Sexual Warrior: Women and Power in Western Culture (New Haven: Yale UP, 1998) Sullivan, Richard, ‘Clane ’98’, in Fugitive Warfare: Conflict and Rebellion in North Kildare 1792-1798, eds. Seamus Cullen and Hermann Geissel (Clane: Clane Historical Society, 1998), 163-173 Thomas, Chantal, ‘Heroism in the Feminine: The Examples of Charlotte Corday and Madame Roland’, in The French Revolution 1789-1989: Two Hundred Years of Rethinking, ed. S. Petrey (Lubbock: Texas Tech, 1989), 67-82 Thompson, Benjamin and Robert Lamb, ‘Disinterestedness and Virtue: “Pure Love” in Fénelon, Rousseau, and Godwin’, History of Political Thought, vol. 32, no. 5 (2011), 799-819 Todd, Janet, Sensibility: An Introduction (London: Methuen, 1986) Vila, Anne C., Enlightenment and Pathology: Sensibility in the Literature and Medicine of Eighteenth-Century France (Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 1998) Wahrman, Dror, The Making of the Modern Self (New Haven: Yale UP, 2004) Wakefield, Priscilla, Leisure hours: or entertaining dialogues; between persons eminent for virtue and magnanimity, 2 vols (London: Darton and Harvey, 1794-96). Walker, Robert, The Female Soldier, or, The Surprising Life and Adventures of Hannah Snell (1750), ed. Dianne Dugaw (Los Angeles: The Augustan Reprint Society, 1989) Wallace, W. J. R. (ed.), Clergy of Meath and Kildare: Biographical Succession Lists (Dublin: Columba Press, 2009) Warner, Marina, Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism (London: Vintage, 1991) West, Matthew, Female Heroism, a Tragedy in Five Acts, founded on revolutionary events that occurred in France in 1793 (Dublin: William Porter, 1803) West, Matthew, Sermons on Various Subjects, dedicated by permission to the Right hon. Bishop of Kildare, 2 vols (Dublin: Hibernia Press Office, J. Cumming, 1819) Wilson, Kathleen, ‘Nelson’s Women: Female Masculinity and Body Politics in the French and Napoleonic Wars’, European History Quarterly, vol. 37, no. 4 (October 2007), 562-581

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Worrall, David, Celebrity, Performance, Reception: British Georgian Theatre as Social Assemblage (Cambridge: CUP, 2013) Worrall, David, Theatric Revolution: Drama, Censorship, and Romantic Period Subcultures, 1773-1832 (Oxford: OUP, 2006) Zimmerman, Georges Denis, Songs of Irish Rebellion: Political Street Ballads and Rebel Songs, 1780-1900 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2002)

CHAPTER 5

‘I Drew my Knife and in his Bosom Stuck it’: Armed Heroines and the Anglo-German Drama

In 1788, Scottish novelist Henry Mackenzie delivered his subsequently published essay ‘Account of the German Theatre’ (1790) to the Royal Edinburgh Society. Mackenzie’s essay marked the start of a period in which commentaries on German drama would become prolific. Prompted by his recognition that ‘of late, Germany seems to exert herself in the more elegant walks of literature’ with a ‘literary aspect’ becoming of ‘a country arrived at maturity […] in the arts’, Mackenzie speaks optimistically of ‘the progress of the German stage’, while not denying that some of the idiosyncrasies of the country’s theatrical productions are inadequately aligned with British standards and tastes.1 Among the inadequacies flagged by Mackenzie are the dramas’ female characters. Justifying his conjecture that ‘the characters of the female personages are by far the most defective’, Mackenzie foregrounds the pervasiveness in serious German drama of a type of ‘violent and profligate woman’.2 Proposing 1  Henry Mackenzie, ‘Account of the German Theatre’, in Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of The Royal Society of Edinburgh, Vol. 2, Issue 2 (1790), 154, 157. For a detailed reading of this essay see Christoph Houswitschka, ‘The Political Reception of German Drama in Great Britain in the period of the French Revolution’, in Anglo-German Theatrical Exchange, A Sea-Change into Something Rich and Strange?, eds. Rudolf Weiss, Ludwig Schnauder, and Dieter Fuchs (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 172-176. 2  Mackenzie, ‘Account’, 176, 177.

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023 S. Burdett, The Arms-Bearing Woman and British Theatre in the Age of Revolution, 1789-1815, Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-15474-4_5

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there to be ‘a degree of infamy in the vice of such a person that is scarcely suitable to the dignity of the higher drama, and which disgusts us with its appearance,’ Mackenzie indicates the figures’ culpability in stripping Germany’s theatrical productions of the artistic merits witnessed on the British stage.3 Complicit in depriving German drama of the ‘sorrow that melts’ and ‘pity that agitates’, Germany’s aggressive heroines professedly contribute to German dramas’ failure to arouse those ‘passions that […] an audience relishes in tragedy’.4 Fast forward to the end of the decade and denigrations of ‘violent and profligate’ German heroines have increased tenfold. Moreover, arguments around what is at stake in their representation have acquired vast new weight. In a scathing attack on German plays published in 1815, a journalist writing for The Critical Review exclaims that German drama has been ‘so fashionably prevalent’ in Britain ‘for the past twenty years’ that ‘almost the whole circle of our female haut-ton are disciples of German morality’. They have been sucked in, continues the journalist, by the ‘specious philosophy’ communicated in the German drama which ‘is a dangerous intruder’ on female conduct.5 The journalist encourages the protection of ‘English sensibility from an indulgence in foreign principles’, impelling British authors to condemn the ‘human frailty’ exhibited by German heroines and to advocate ‘by contrast the bright purity of our native delicacy’, in order ‘to invoke every female to emulate the splendours of unadulterated excellence and to spurn the gaudy subterfuges elicited by false philosophy!’6 Printed two decades after Mackenzie’s essay, the commentary reflects a cultural context in which German drama is seen to exert pernicious influence over political and national conduct. It offers an example of that which Peter Mortensen terms the ‘discourse of Romantic “Europhobia”’ which prevails in Britain from the late 1790s. During this epoch, explains Mortensen, a strong parallel was formed between Britain’s ‘very real fears of French invasion’ and the ‘spectre of cultural invasion’ introduced by the vast importation of foreign literature.7 Featuring only  Ibid, 177.  Ibid, 167. 5  ‘Art IX.- Lovers Vows: A Play by Kotzebue. Translated from the German by Mrs Inchbald’, The Critical Review, or, Annals of Literature (October 1815), 416. 6  ‘Art IX’, The Critical Review, 420. 7  Peter Mortensen, British Romanticism and Continental Influences: Writing in an Age of Europhobia (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 9. 3 4

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sparsely in previous theatrical seasons, German drama rapidly became prominent within Britain’s patent theatres in the period spanning 1798 to 1800, with adaptations of Kotzebue, Goethe and Schiller appearing regularly on Britain’s major stages.8 Dramas by such authors were considered especially dangerous given the political liberalism detectable within Sturm und Drang writing, which could easily be reappropriated for revolutionary ends.9 The extent to which German authors were aligned with political leftism during this period is indicated overtly by William Hazlitt, who, in 1820, described German dramatists as ‘incorrigible Jacobins’ whose ‘school of poetry is the only real school of radical reform’.10 Construed consequently ‘as an overwhelming menace to Britain’s moral and political health’, Britain’s defence against the German drama was deemed crucial to the preservation of national and social stability.11 What is particularly interesting about the Europhobic commentary printed in The Critical Review is that the author’s anxieties around German drama stem directly from the genre’s female characters. German principles, embodied by German heroines, are shown to have intruded upon British women’s ‘native delicacy’, and look set to alter the female character, ridding her of the ‘English sensibility’ and ‘unadulterated excellence’ for which she is prized. With female virtue and morality apparently under attack from the ‘foreign principles’ and ‘false philosoph[ies]’ exhibited by German heroines, the appearance of Germany’s ‘violent and profligate’ women upon the British stage comes to warrant serious attention.12 Demonstrative of this, in a review of Benjamin Thompson’s adaptation of Kotzebue’s Adelaide of Wulfingen (DL; 1799) published in The Monthly 8  See Michael Gamer, Romanticism and the Gothic: Genre, Reception, and Canon Formation (Cambridge: CUP, 2000) 145-149; and Douglas Milburn, ‘The Popular Reaction to German Drama in England at the end of the eighteenth century’, Rice University Studies, vol. 55, no.3 (Summer 1969) 149-162. 9  Mortensen, British Romanticism, 9. 10  William Hazlitt, ‘On the Spirit of Ancient and Modern Drama – On the German Drama, Contrasted with that of the Age of Elizabeth’, in Lectures on the Dramatic Literature of the Age of Elizabeth (London: John Warren, 1821), 350. 11  Mortensen, British Romanticism, 9. See also Gamer, Romanticism, 127-129; Jane Moody, Illegitimate Theatre in London, 1770-1840 (Cambridge: CUP, 2000), 48-49, 53-54; and Barry Murnane, ‘The German “School” of Horrors: A Pharmacology of the Gothic’, in The Cambridge History of the Gothic, Volume 1: Gothic in the Long Eighteenth Century, eds. Angela Wright and Dale Townshend (Cambridge: CUP, 2020), 364-381. 12  ‘Art IX’, Critical Review, 420.

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Review, the journalist pinpoints the eponymous heroine’s ‘unnecessary and shocking’ act of stabbing her children to death as stark evidence that ‘Professor Kotzebue’s plays are distinguished by a great latitude of morals’, adding that while ‘we should have dismissed an inferior writer from our bar with a summary rebuke, […] the popularity of this author’ in Britain ‘renders his errors extremely dangerous’.13 While expressing similar distaste for violent German heroines as Mackenzie had done nine years earlier, the commentary offered by the subsequent journalist carries ideologically inflected undertones that Mackenzie’s essay had lacked. Hinting at the dangers of the heroine’s ‘shocking’ conduct when received by British audiences whose partiality for the play’s controversial German author renders them highly receptive to ‘German morality’, the commentary indicates that by 1799, violent German heroines are no longer problematic chiefly because that they hinder the arousal of pity requisite to tragic drama. Rather, their proliferation in Anglo-German plays, tinged, allegedly, with the ‘specious philosophy’ of Jacobinism, is shown to pose a poignant danger to national sentiments and conduct. Romantic theatre scholarship interrogating the perceived cultural and political threats detectable within Anglo-German plays has tended to focalise British anxieties around the German drama’s hybridised form and its politically controversial protagonists. We have seen, for instance, how the drama’s amalgamation of tragedy and comedy is accused of aligning it too closely with the ‘monstrous tragi-comic scenes’ witnessed across the Channel.14 It has been observed, moreover, how the glorification of German protagonists such as Schiller’s Karl Moor, the leader of an execrable band of robbers who responds with vengeful and bloodthirsty reaction to social injustice, acquired strong affiliations in the 1790s with Jacobinical

13  ‘Art 38. Adelaide of Wulfingen.’ The Monthly Review, or, Literary Journal (June 1799), 226. 14  Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (London: J. Dodsley, 1790), 11. see esp. Jeffrey N. Cox, In the Shadows of Romance: Romantic Tragic Drama in Germany, England, and France (Athens: Ohio UP, 1987), 46-47; Cox, ‘Ideology and Genre in the British Anti revolutionary Drama of the 1790s’, ELH, vol. 58, no. 3 (Autumn, 1991), 579-610; Cox, ‘Introduction’ in Seven Gothic Dramas, 1789-1825, ed. Cox (USA: Ohio UP, 1992), 1-12; Julie Carlson, ‘Command Performances: Burke, Coleridge, and Schiller’s Dramatic Reflections on the Revolution in France’, The Wordsworth Circle, vol. 23, no. 2 (Spring 1992), 117-134; Moody, Illegitimate Theatre, 48-55; and Francesca Saggini, The Gothic Novel and the Stage: Romantic Appropriations (London: Routledge, 2016), 52-53.

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practices.15 While the genre’s female characters have not been ignored, scholarship has privileged the ‘ideology of sexual liberation’ projected by the figure of the promiscuous German heroine who partakes in adulterous or non-marital affairs.16 These fruitful discussions of the drama’s style, its mobbish heroes and its sexually profligate heroines invite opportunities for scholarly enquiries into the figure of the ‘violent’ German heroine: that is, the heroine who threatens, attempts, or perpetrates armed violence and/or murder. Though a peripheral figure in Romantic theatre scholarship, the armed heroine who takes her cue from German source texts appears ubiquitously in dramas staged and published in England throughout the late 1790s and early 1800s. In a spoof of the German drama titled The Benevolent Cut-­ Throat published in The Meteors in 1800, a ghost appears with ‘a dagger in her hand’ which she uses to stab the drama’s quasi-villain, Stilletto.17 The scene is recognisable as an overt parody of Matthew G. Lewis’ dramatic romance The Castle Spectre (DL; 1797), a play exhibiting content described by Samuel Taylor Coleridge as ‘Schiller Lewis-ized’ on account of its debt to the German author.18 In this play, audiences see the ghost of the deceased Evelina appear, like her satirical counterpart, with a dagger in her hand. She grants the weapon to her daughter, Angela, who uses it to stab the play’s villain, Osmond, before famously declaring in the play’s humorous epilogue, ‘I drew my knife and in his bosom stuck it/He fell, you 15  See esp. Peter Mortensen, ‘Robbing the Robbers: Schiller, Xenophobia and the Politics of British Romantic Translation, Literature and History, vol. 11, issue 1 (May 2002), 41-61; Mortensen, British Romanticism, 134-172; Frederick Burwick, ‘Schiller’s Plays on the British Stage, 1797-1825’, in Who is this Schiller Now? Essays on his Reception and Significance, eds. Jeffrey L.  High, Nicholas Martin and Norbert Oellers (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2013), 302-320; and Houswitschka, ‘The Political Reception of German Drama’, 171-189. 16  Cox, ‘Ideology and Genre’, 585. See also Cox, ‘Introduction: Reanimating Gothic Drama’, in Gothic Studies, vol. 3, no. 2 (2003), 107-16; Gillian Russell, ‘Killing Mrs. Siddons: The Actress and the Adulteress in Late Georgian Britain’, Studies in Romanticism, vol. 51, no. 3 (2012), 419-448; Russell, ‘Revolutionary Drama’, in The Cambridge Companion to British Literature of the French Revolution in the 1790s, ed. Pamela Clemit (Cambridge: CUP, 2011), 175-189; and F. W. Stokoe, German Influence in the Romantic Period, 1788-1818 (Cambridge: CUP, 1926), 34-36. It is indeed the sexually profligate heroine that is chastised in the quoted raillery printed in The Critical Review (Oct. 1815). 17  The Meteors, volume. 1 (London: A. and J. Black, 1800), 222. 18  Samuel Taylor Coleridge to William Wordsworth, Tuesday 23 January 1798, in The Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Electronic Edition, 6 vols (Virginia: InteLex Corporation, 2002), I:378.

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clapped, and then he kicked the bucket.’19 While offering a mockery on the one hand of German-derived stage ghosts, or, to use the Analytical Review’s terminology, those deplorable ‘German spectres’ which have ‘driven Shakespeare and Congreve from the stage’, the satire’s knife-­ wielding female also offers a nod to the multitude of armed and murderous heroines imported into Britain from Germany at the close of the 1790s.20 Between the period 1795 to 1800, in dramas either adapted from or indebted to German sources, we find a whole army of dagger-wielding and murderous women force their way into British plays. Alongside The Castle Spectre which witnesses Angela’s armed attack on Osmond, and Thompson’s aforementioned Adelaide of Wulfingen which features the crazed heroine’s fatal stabbing of her children, English adaptations of Schiller’s The Robbers (1781) by Alexander Fraser Tytler (unperformed; 1792) and Joseph George Holman (Haymarket; 1799) each show Amelia/ Eugenia threaten her lover’s brother with a sword/dagger; Coleridge’s unstaged tragedy Osorio (1797), also modelled on The Robbers, grants the sword-wielding Moresco woman Alhadra the role of killing the play’s titular villain; Richard Cumberland’s Joanna of Montfaucon (CG; 1800), adapted from Kotzebue’s drama of the same name, has the eponymous heroine save her husband’s life by fatally stabbing his rival; and Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s hugely popular rendition of Kotzebue’s Pizarro (DL; 1799), along with unstaged translations of the same play by Lewis, Matthew West and Anne Plumptre, each dramatise the attempts made by the warlike mistress, Elvira, to seek murderous vengeance against the titular villain.21 Redressing the limited scholarship devoted to this pervasive Anglo-German figure, this chapter looks to foreground the heroine’s amplification of British discomfort with German adaptations by demonstrating the extent to which she is implicated in the perceived social and political threats professedly fostered by such non-native plays.

 Matthew G. Lewis, The Castle Spectre; A Drama in Five Acts (London: J Bell, 1798), vi.  Anon., ‘Review of Joanna Baillie’s Plays on the Passions’, Monthly Review, 27 (1798), 66. On German ghosts see Gamer, Romanticism and the Gothic, 129-131. For an extensive criticism of the ghost of Evelina see Analytical Review (August 1798), 185-190. 21  Moreover, translations of Goethe’s Goetz of Berlichingen by Walter Scott and Rose Lawrence both see Adela/Adelaide murder her husband with poison. 19 20

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My enquiry shows Mackenzie’s early conjecture that the violent German heroine is flawed crucially by her inability to arouse ‘delicacy of feeling’ to be varyingly accompanied and usurped in reviews of the late 1790s to 1810s by two further defects which distinguish her unfavourably from her British tragic counterpart.22 These are: her replication, through her hybridised portrayal, of the German drama’s hybridised form; and her insidious capacity, on account of such hybridity, to provoke underserved sympathy from theatregoers, impelling them to confuse virtue with vice. My analysis opens and closes with Coleridge: an author central to my discussion given his proclaimed commitment to purging the British stage of German productions, and paradoxical indebtedness to German theatrical traditions.23 Having used Coleridge’s derisive commentaries of German drama, and those of his contemporaries, to frame my analyses of British responses to Schiller’s The Robbers, Lewis’ The Castle Spectre and Sheridan’s Pizarro, I explore the meticulous methods employed by dramatists at the close of the century to mitigate the challenges posed by armed heroines— specifically, heroines armed with swords—via investigations of Holman’s The Red-Cross Knights and Cumberland’s Joanna. Turning finally to Coleridge’s Remorse (DL; 1813), a revival of his unperformed tragedy Osorio, I propose that while Cumberland and Holman purify Germany’s sword-bearing heroine of her foreign characteristics and subversive implications via sentimentalisation, Coleridge produces a textually hardened version of the heroine featured in Osorio, and in doing so, shields himself, to some extent, from accusations of exploiting in his dramatic practice the very theatrical trends that he denigrates in his Europhobic criticism.  Mackenzie, ‘Account’, 167.  On Coleridge’s intricate relationship with German drama, explored at the end of this chapter, see John David Moore, ‘Coleridge and the “modern Jacobinical Drama”: Osorio, Remorse, and the Development of Coleridge’s Critique of the Stage, 1797-1816’, Bulletin of Research in the Humanities, vol. 85 (1982), 443-464; Julie Carlson, In the Theatre of Romanticism: Coleridge, Nationalism, Women (Cambridge: CUP, 1994), 63-93, 94-133; Frederick Burwick, The Illusion and the Drama (University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 1991), 268-303; Peter Mortensen, ‘The Robbers and the Police: British Romantic Drama and the Gothic Treacheries of Coleridge’s Remorse’, in European Gothic: A Spirited Exchange, 1760-1960, ed. Avril Horner (Manchester: Manchester UP, 2002), 128-143; George Irving, ‘Coleridge as Playwright’, in The Oxford Handbook of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ed. Frederick Burwick (Oxford: OUP, 2018), 2-11; Chris Murray, Tragic Coleridge (London: Routledge, 2016), 93-116; Gamer, Romanticism and the Gothic, 136-138; and Jeffrey L. High, ‘Schiller, Coleridge, and the Reception of the Gothic Tale’, Colloquia Germanica, vol.  42, no.  1 (2009), 49-66. 22 23

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Characters of a ‘Mingled Nature’: Romantic Europhobia and the Hybridised Anglo-German Heroine In 1816 Coleridge launched his famous attack on Charles Maturin’s gothic drama Bertram; or, The Castle of Aldobrand (DL; 1816). Bertram’s appearance at Drury Lane, in place of Coleridge’s own tragedy Zapolya (1816), impelled Coleridge to protest the need for theatre managers to expel ‘pernicious barbarisms and Kotzebuisms in morals and taste’ from the London stage, by ‘exterminating the speaking monsters imported from the banks of the Danube’ which constitute the ‘modern jacobinicial drama’.24 This ‘jacobinical’ mode of theatre, to which Bertram apparently adheres, derives from that which Coleridge terms the ‘so-called German drama’:25 a model of dramatic writing which, paying no tribute to the ‘sobriety of the morals’ of Lessing, or the ‘maturer judgement’ found in Schiller’s later works, is ‘offensive to good taste’ and ‘sound morals’.26 While not denigrating the German drama per se, Coleridge expresses his recantation by 1816 of the enthusiasm expressed in his earlier republican days for the emotionally-charged Sturm und Drang drama, of which ‘Schiller’s ROBBERS was the earliest specimen’.27 Though derived from a mixture of British sentimental and gothic trends, and thereby ‘English in its origin’, Coleridge considers the ‘countless imitations which were [the] spawn’ of The Robbers to represent a mode of drama which is neither properly English nor properly German.28 According to Coleridge, the vogue for Sturm und Drang plays has been exploited and bastardised first by German authors—Kotzebue chief among them—whose works belong not within ‘the libraries of well-educated Germans’ but constitute ‘orgasms of a sickly imagination’;29 and subsequently, by ‘the whole breed of Kotzebues’ found in Britain—Maturin included—who look ‘to abuse and enjoy’ the 24  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria (1817), 2 vols., ed. Adam Roberts (Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2014), II:380, 390. 25  Coleridge, Biographia, II:382. 26  Ibid., II:381, 382, 390. 27  Ibid., 381. On Coleridge’s shifting attitudes to Schiller’s plays see Carlson, In the Theatre, 63-93, 94-133. 28  Coleridge, Biographia, II:383, 382. 29  Ibid., II:383, 382. In 1802 Crabb Robinson similarly warned against the plays of Kotzebue being used to represent German drama. See Milburn, ‘The Popular Reaction’, 149-162.

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popularity of such contrivances in England, with little regard for the damage such productions exert over the quality of British drama, or the state of national morals.30 For Coleridge, the defining feature of the ‘jacobinical drama’ is that it presents ‘the confusion and subversion of the natural order of things’ by glorifying ‘those criminals to whom law, reason, and religion have excommunicated from our esteem’.31 Bertram epitomises this trend as it inspires for vicious characters ‘all the sympathies which are the due of virtue’.32 The villainous Count Bertram is painted by Coleridge as a direct descendant of Karl Moor: a figure allowed to arouse a ‘thunder of applause’ from the audience, despite being ‘a robber and a murderer by trade’.33 By inviting venerations of villainous figures, the ‘so-called German drama’ is shown to distinguish itself inauspiciously from the theatrical mode practiced by Shakespeare, whose ‘rightful dominion over British audiences’ Coleridge sets out to restore.34 Coleridge argues that while Shakespeare does not shy away from dramatic depictions of villainy, he exhibits ‘no virtuous vice; he never renders that amiable that religion and reason alike teach us to detest, or clothes impurity in the garb of virtue, unlike Beaumont and Fletcher, the Kotzebues of his day’.35 The characters found in the plays of the latter, argues Coleridge, constitute ‘benevolent butchers’ and ‘sentimental rat catchers’, whose blends of depravity and humaneness carry ‘on warfare against virtue by causing wickedness to appear as no wickedness’.36 By uniting vice and virtue in a single dramatic figure, protests Coleridge, the works of Kotzebue and his British followers perform the ‘trick of bringing one part of our moral nature to counteract another’: a villain who is concurrently humane ‘combat[s] our condemnation’ of

30  Coleridge, Biographia, I:383, 381. On German drama’s indebtedness to English traditions see Rosemary Ashton, The German Idea: Four English Writers and the Reception of German Thought, 1800-1860 (London: Libris, 1994), 4-5. 31  Coleridge, Biographia, II:390. 32  Ibid., II:391. 33  Ibid, II: 398, 401. On this argument see Cox, In the Shadows of Romance, 119-126. 34  Ibid., II: 380. 35  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ‘Shakespeare, with Introductory Matter on the Poetry, the Drama and the Stage’, in Henry Nelson Coleridge (ed.), The Complete Works of Coleridge, Vol IV: Lectures Upon Shakespeare and Other Dramatists (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1857), 62. 36  Coleridge ‘Shakespeare’, 62.

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‘adultery, robbery, and other heinous crimes’, and is thereby inimical to the preservation of public morality.37 As Coleridge’s allusion to The Robbers implies, Schiller’s tendentious tragedy was seen to epitomise the insidious capacities for which the German drama had become renowned. As early as 1788 Mackenzie wrote censurably of Karl Moor when warning of the consequences of fostering in a character who commits clear ‘violations of virtue and morality’ a ‘loftiness and power of expression’ and a ‘degree of tenderness which melts the heart’.38 Mackenzie cautions that by granting such qualities to ‘this wretch, this robber, this assassin’, Schiller ‘covers the natural deformity of criminal actions with the veil of high sentiment and virtuous feeling, and thus separates […] the moral sense from that morality which it ought to produce’.39 Following The Robbers’ securement of a firm affiliation with the levelling and libertarian principles associated with revolutionary France, this glorified depiction of Karl Moor carried an even greater threat. In a review printed in The Monthly Register in 1803 signed with the initial ‘P’, Karl Moor is accused of epitomising the ‘fault […] of most of the German productions to corrupt the mind and mislead the feelings by seducing our pity for vices’.40 Professing that ‘a person guilty of such atrocious crimes as Schiller has painted in his hero is an unfit subject to be represented on the stage as an interesting object’, the journalist laments that by allowing Karl’s vices to ‘excite our sympathy’ and ‘escape our blame’, The Robbers places public virtue in ‘considerable danger’.41 For Mackenzie and P, this minacious potential to arouse underserved pity is confined exclusively to the German protagonist, and constitutes an antithetical flaw to that detected in the violent German heroine. P’s dissatisfaction with The Robbers extends to the characterisation of Schiller’s Amelia. Commenting on Amelia’s armed confrontation of her lover’s brother, behaviour which, according to P, renders her ‘liable to the imputation of being unnatural’, P resolves:  Ibid., 136.  Mackenzie, ‘Account’, 182, 188. 39  Ibid., 189, 192. Mackenzie vindicates this conjecture by recalling the anecdote of the ‘scholars at the school of Fribourg’, who had been ‘so struck and captivated with the grandeur of the character’ of Schiller’s ‘hero Moor, that they agreed to form a band like his in the forest of Bohemia’. See 191. 40  P, ‘Criticism on Schiller’s Tragedy of The Robbers’, The Monthly Register (August 1803), 176. 41  P, ‘Criticism’, 176. 37 38

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The German writers seem to have no idea that modesty forms the most beautiful features in the female character, and instead of drawing their heroines as gifted with all the softer virtues, and all those minor graces which act so powerfully on the feelings, they always paint them as possessing the masculine qualities. Amelia is distinguished for everything but sensibility; she is heroic, magnanimous and bold. […] Whether it is the effect of a faulty imagination, or a sacrifice to the vitiated state of the German morals, is uncertain, but Schiller has in no instance painted his female characters in a way to excite interest or inspire imitation.42

Conflating Amelia’s flaws with those of the standard German heroine, P uses his review of The Robbers to launch an attack on the German heroine per se. According to P, Germany’s ‘bold and magnanimous’ heroines are both unnatural and unpleasing as they lack the ‘modesty’ and ‘sensibility’ that is rightly understood in Britain to constitute female nature and female beauty. Directly echoing Mackenzie, P shows the absence of these qualities to problematise the play’s reception by mollifying the heroine’s ability to arouse sympathetic identification: Amelia’s lack of ‘softer virtues’ and ‘minor graces’ disables her from ‘excit[ing] interest or inspir[ing] imitation’ from her audience and thereby distinguishes her unfavourably from her British tragic equivalent. The German heroine is consequently deemed guilty of a crime starkly differing in effect to that committed by her male counterpart: while her uniform display of masculinity renders her incapable of eliciting any kind of emotional response, the inconstancy of the German protagonist is conversely accused of the far more serious charge of inspiring sympathy for vice. The judgments offered by P and Mackenzie point towards an apparent dichotomy in hostile British responses to violent German and Anglo-­ German heroines presented across the 1790s and 1810s. While Mackenzie and P show the native German heroine to be deserving of chastisement on account of her monolithic boldness, Coleridge accuses the ‘so-called German’ heroine of presenting the same incongruous mix of ferocity and virtue that characterises the German hero. In his attack on Bertram, Coleridge inveighs not only against the plaudits received by the play’s protagonist, but those directed at the play’s heroine, Imogen: a woman who deceives her husband and abandons her child in a wood, it being unclear, writes Coleridge, ‘whether she murdered it or not’.43 Mirroring  Ibid., 176-177.  Coleridge, Biographia, II: 398, 401.

42 43

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the criticisms of Karl Moor offered by Mackenzie and P, Coleridge berates Imogen’s characterisation for its mixture of baseness and virtue: in his words, Imogen combines a ‘foulness of […] heart’ with ‘sincere religious’ sentiments.44 Such duality of character is a flaw detected recurringly in British criticisms of aggressive Anglo-German heroines exhibited on the British stage in the years surrounding 1800: the inimical effects of which are shown to differ in severity from play to play, and from review to review. In 1798 the Analytical Review printed an adverse commentary of Lewis’ The Castle Spectre, signed by W. B. Deriding the fashion for Anglo-­ German plays which don the ‘harlequin coat of pantomime’, W. B’s review fits neatly into the corpus of tirades on the foreign ‘dramatic romance’, which, styled as ‘a drama of a mingled nature, Operatic, Comical and Tragical’, is shown to shun the celebrated characteristics of the legitimate British drama.45 Among the features situating the play at disadvantage from the native British drama is its knife-wielding heroine, Angela. Distinguishing Angela unfavourably from the British tragic heroine, W. B chimes with Mackenzie and P when declaring that the ‘eyes which have been thus unrelenting to the distress of Angela’ have readily wept ‘over the sorrows of Belvidera, of Monimia, of Isabella’.46 Though judging Angela inauspiciously against Otway’s and Southerne’s sentimental heroines, however, W.  B does not vindicate Angela’s inferiority solely on account of her boldness, as P had done Amelia. Rather, his animosity to Angela is provoked by her hybridity. Accusing Lewis of plagiarising the concluding scene of Arthur Murphy’s tragedy The Grecian Daughter (1772), which sees Euphrasia fatally stab the play’s antagonist, W.  B proposes that in contrast to the actions of Euphrasia, which are tolerable because characteristic, Angela’s actions are intolerable because uncharacteristic. The journalist writes that while Euphrasia’s bold conduct appears ‘perfectly consistent’ with the heroine’s perpetually ‘strong and masculine character’, the performance of the ‘bloody act’ that Lewis assigns his heroine is ‘completely abhorrent from the gentleness’ otherwise ‘attributed to Angela’, who, though she ‘never saw a bird die but she wept’, closes the play with the remorseless  Ibid., II:398, 400.  W. B, ‘ART. XV. The Castle Spectre: A Drama in Five Acts’, Analytical Review: or, History of Literature, (August 1798), 189; St James’ Chronicle, 16-19 December 1797. See also ‘Covent Garden, Friday January 24’, in The Dramatic Censor, or, Weekly Theatrical Report (February 1800), 156. 46  W. B, ‘ART XV’, 190. 44 45

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imperative: ‘Give [Osmond] a thousand lives!—and let me take them all’.47 Uniting the genre’s form and the heroine’s portrayal, W. B shows Angela to replicate the offensively ‘mingled nature’ of the ‘tragic farce’ in which she appears, by pointing to her incongruous conglomeration of gentleness and bloodiness, virtue and vice.48 It is this shift in character from paragon of docile femininity, to fierce embodiment of martial retribution, with which W. B finds chief fault. Such inconstancy, argues W. B, renders Angela inferior to the ‘perfectly consistent’ heroine of the native tragic drama, as it constitutes an ‘outrage to probability’ which causes interest in Angela’s character ‘to languish’ and destroys her ability to ‘elevate or to shake us’.49 For W. B then, the problem with the violent Anglo-German heroine, though not dissimilar in effect from that located by P and Mackenzie, stems from a contrary cause: Angela is shown to prevent emotional investment from spectators as her inconstancy furnishes her with an improbable characterisation that serves to render her ‘unsuccessful in [her] attempt on us with pathos’.50 In the years following the debut performance of The Castle Spectre, criticisms of the violent and hybridised Anglo-German heroine increased in intensity. No longer defective simply for her inability to provide the pathos transmitted by the British tragic heroine, denigrations of the figure come recurrently to anticipate Coleridge’s criticism of Maturin’s Imogen in pointing to the figure’s status as an undeserving ‘object of interest and sympathy’.51 The arguable catalyst for such augmented hostilities towards the violent Anglo-German heroine was Sheridan’s immensely popular rendition of Kotzebue’s Pizarro. ‘Their Heroes and Heroines are Bedlamites’: Glorifying Vice in Sheridan’s Pizarro In an overt example of Europhobic discourse published in two instalments in the Edinburgh Magazine between 1802-1803, dramatist and staunch conservative William Preston presented England as being under attack from the ‘invading swarms’ of plays intruding ‘from the northern hive’ of

 Ibid., 185; Lewis, Castle Spectre, vi.  St James’s Chronicle, 16-19 December 1797. 49  W. B, ‘ART XV’, 190, 186. 50  Ibid., 190. 51  Coleridge, Biographia, 400. 47 48

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Europe.52 Attributing to these plays a ‘ferocious character and revolutionary bias’, he postulates their design to induce audiences ‘to be discontented with the government under which they live’ and ‘to become active partizans of anarchy and disorder’.53 Plays derived from the German school, insists Preston, ‘bear strong internal marks of the affection which the writers bear to the new philosophy and the revolutionary spirit’, as ‘their heroes and heroines are bedlamites’.54 Consonant with railleries directed against Karl Moor, Preston shows German plays to hold forth ‘monster[s] of guilt and depravity’ as ‘deserving of supreme pity’.55 Yet, diverging from P and Mackenzie, Preston surmises that the menace posed by such portrayals reaches its apex when the ‘monsters’ in question are female. Preston inveighs against the presence on the British stage of German-­ inspired dramas in which ‘mannish manners, and bold ferocity’ are ‘ascribed to females, nay, to females which the poet announces as feminine, good and amiable’.56 Given the supposed malleability of female theatregoers, Preston protests that characters of ‘ferocious and censurable’ conduct, whose crimes are exhibited ‘as amiable or estimable’, or ‘even panegyrised, as acts of virtue and heroism, in swelling declamation’ are ‘particularly injurious’ when held out as examples ‘to the female world’, as they offer ready ‘objects of imitation to their sex’, liable to encourage in women the ‘impious sentiments’ and ‘dangerous energies’ which serve to spread ‘the poison of anarchy’.57 Preston consequently denigrates venerations of German-imported heroines who are to ‘be found only in Bedlam’, decrying such ‘horrid and disgusting’ female characters as figures rife with potential to catalyse conduct inimical to national peace.58 Surpassing the fervency expressed by W. B four years prior, the vitriol with which Preston writes at the turn of the nineteenth century of the hybridised Anglo-German heroine is typical of his day. The urgency of his 52  William Preston, ‘Reflections on the Peculiarities of Style and Manner in the Late German Writers, whose Works have appeared in English; and on the Tendency of their Productions’, Part 1, The Edinburgh Magazine, or Literary Miscellany (November 1802), 353. 53  Preston, ‘Reflections on the Peculiarities of Style and Manner in the Late German Writers’, Part 2, The Edinburgh Magazine, or Literary Miscellany (January 1803), 14, 11. 54  Preston, ‘Reflections’, Part 2, 10; ‘Reflections’, Part 1, 359. 55  Ibid., Part 2, 13. 56  Ibid., 14, 13. 57  Ibid, 13, 11. 58  Ibid., Part 1, 355; Part 2, 11.

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invective reverberates in reviews of the most popular German adaptation to appear on the British stage throughout the 1790s: that of Sheridan’s Pizarro. As John Britton noted in 1800, Sheridan’s Pizarro ‘excited the greatest variety of praise and censure from the critical fraternity of any production ever brought upon the London stage’.59 Though frequently lauded as a patriotic response to the imminent threat of French invasion, Pizarro was simultaneously singled out by Europhobic commentators for depicting one of the most dangerous embodiments of foreign energy in the form of its heroine, Elvira.60 While troubling on the one hand due to her status as Pizarro’s mistress, Elvira’s provocation of hostility from British reviewers stemmed simultaneously from her embodiment of the ‘mannish manners and bold ferocity’ vilified by Preston. Actuated by her love of Pizarro to support him in his despotic conquest of Peru, Sheridan’s Elvira endures ‘the tumults of [the] noisy camp’, involves herself in the ‘manly business’ of military affairs, and is lauded by Pizarro for being ‘in war the soldier’s pattern’.61 Vengeful as well as combative, when Pizarro resolves to murder the innocent Peruvian, Alonzo, in spite of Elvira’s disapproval, Elvira, convinced both that Pizarro ‘no longer love[s]’ her, and that his conduct will make him ‘hateful to all future ages—accursed and scorned by posterity’, resolves that ‘a poignard’ be ‘plung’d into [the] tyrant’s heart’.62 Despite being urged by Rolla, the virtuous Peruvian leader, that ‘the God of justice sanctions no evil as a step towards good’, and that ‘forgiveness of injuries’ is the ‘Christian precept’ which is needed to placate social hostilities, Elvira fosters a self-imposed imperviousness to both feminine and Christian sensibilities.63 Shunning the ‘drops of weakness’ indicative of her sex, and reprimanding her previous recourse to the ‘innocence’ and ‘virtue’ of a Christian, Elvira embraces the ‘hate’ and  John Britton, Sheridan and Kotzebue (London: J. Fairburn, 1799), 140.  On the myriad political readings invited by Pizarro see Daniel O‘Quinn, ‘Pizarro’s Spectacular Dialectics’, in Richard Brinsley Sheridan: The Impresario in Political and Cultural Context, eds. Jack E.  DeRochi and Daniel J.  Ennis (Lewisburg: Bucknell UP, 2013), 159-195; Julie Carlson, ‘Trying Sheridan’s Pizarro’, Texas Studies in Literature and Language, vol.  38, no.  3-4 (Fall/Winter 1996), 359-378; Susan Valladares, Staging the Peninsular War: English Theatres, 1807-1815 (London: Routledge, 2015), 15-58; David Taylor, Theatres of Opposition: Empire, Revolution, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan (Oxford: OUP, 2012), 119-154; and Milburn, ‘The Popular Reaction’, 149-162. 61  Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Pizarro: A Tragedy in Five Acts (1799), ed. with intro. by Selena Couture and Alexander Dick (Canada: Broadview Press, 2017), I.i.77, 81; III.iii.121. 62  Sheridan, Pizarro, III.iii.119, 120; IV.II.131. 63  Ibid., IV.i.129; IV.ii.131. 59 60

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‘fury’ necessary to seek ‘the vengeance [her] heart has sworn against the tyrant’.64 In choosing bloodthirsty vengeance over forgiveness, Elvira embodies the Robbers-esque inclination towards violent reprise and self-sanctioned justice that British commentators derided in Karl Moor.65 Making Elvira’s behaviour all the more egregious is its deviation from the natural character of her sex. In his extensive raillery against Pizarro published in 1810, the Reverend Thomas Comber wrote disapprovingly of Elvira’s conduct when insisting: The fell passions of fury and revenge never disturb the bosom of virtue. Whatever may be the injuries which she receives, patience and resignation are the only arms which she calls to her aid. If on earth she is destined to be tried and purified by the fire of adversity, she is sensible […] that “it is good for her that she hath been afflicted”. She therefore bows with submission to the will of her creator, and waits, with patience, for her reward in the highest Heavens.66

As Comber’s homily outlines, Elvira’s vindictive passions and actions distinguish her from the devout female archetype who responds to adversity not with a call to arms, but with acceptance and forbearance. In place of ‘fury and revenge’, the good pious female exercises patience and submission, and puts her faith in ‘the will of the creator’, knowing that it is not her place to intervene in what He has ordained. Painting a portrait of Elvira as a heroine who rejects her natural piety in favour of the ‘fell passions’ fostered by the Jacobinical Karl Moor, Comber echoes Thomas James Mathias’ Europhobic conjecture from 1799, in which he had protested that when British authors begin to translate, ‘Then sprout the morals of the German school;/The Christian sinks, the Jacobin bears rule’.67  Ibid., III.iii.121, 2; IV.i.127.  See Mackenzie, ‘Account’,182-192; and P, ‘Criticism’, 176-177. 66  Thomas Comber, Adultery Analyzed: An Inquiry into the Causes of the Prevalence of That Vice in These Kingdoms at the Present Day (London: J. J. Stockdale, 1810), 128-9. 67  T. J. Mathias, The Shade of Alexander Pope on the Bank of the Thames. A Satirical Poem (London: J. Milliken, 1799), 59–60. While Elvira represents here a Jacobinical response to wrongdoing, the political inferences which she communicates are ideologically intricate. For a reading of Pizarro as an allegory of the French Revolution, in which Pizarro embodies the Terror and Elvira the disenchanted former radical, see Jack DeRochi, ‘Removing the Romantic Rubric: The Dramatic Sameness of Sheridan and Coleridge’, RECTR, vol.  17, no. 1-2 (Summer 2002), 51-70. 64 65

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While her typically German ‘masculine manners’ and impious conduct are thus chief among Elvira’s perceived defects, what makes her characterisation especially injurious on the London stage, and, ultimately, what distinguishes her from Mackenzie’s and P’s benumbing German heroine, is that, like the ‘monster[s] of guilt and depravity’ condemned by Preston, Elvira is painted as estimable and imitable.68 Comber labels Elvira as yet another German-derived figure who exemplifies ‘the new adventure on the stage to render vice amiable’. He complains that ‘the author of this tragedy, as if desirous of confounding all distinctions between right and wrong, virtue and vice, holds up this woman’ to ‘the admiration of his audience’ by shrouding her baseness beneath ‘such noble sentiments of justice and liberality’, as ‘could only become, and ought only to proceed from, the mouth of virtue’.69 Comber concludes, ‘for these reasons’, Elvira constitutes ‘a great blemish in this popular drama’, which threatens to promote ‘the cause of immorality’ and to result in the ‘dissolution of morals’.70 Elvira’s insidiousness is shown to result from the magnanimous proclamations of humanity interspersed into her speech; most crucially, in the play’s revised denouement, in which Sheridan magnified Elvira’s display of contrition and atonement. Indicating visually the recantation of her formerly public role, Elvira appears on stage dressed as a nun seconds before Pizarro is slain by Rolla. With Pizarro dead, Elvira declines the offer from the ‘grateful nation’ of Peru to remain in their ‘rescued country’, pledging instead that, ‘Humbled in penitence’, she will ‘atone the guilty errors’ which ‘have long consum’d [her] secret heart’. She then encourages her company to ‘Cherish humanity’ so as to ‘avoid the foul examples thou hast viewed’.71 Elvira’s articulations of philanthropy and repentance in this scene are accused by Europhobic commentators of clouding her savage conduct, rendering her an object of celebration as opposed to condemnation. A writer for The Gentleman’s Magazine argued in 1799 that having shunned all ‘female delicacy’ by following the dictates of the ‘unpitying sword’, the ‘compassion [Elvira] afterwards exhibits’ is destructive as it exalts ‘to public admiration a heroine who, by her flagrant misconduct,  Preston, ‘Reflections’, Part 2, 13.  Comber, Adultery, 127. 70  Ibid, 135, 136. 71  Sheridan, Pizarro, V.iv.147, 148. For a detailed account of Sheridan’s revisions see Selena Couture and Alexander Dick, ‘Introduction’ in Pizarro, eds. Couture and Dick, 11-58. 68 69

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had more justly deserved censure’. The journalist pinpoints Elvira’s characterisation as evidence that ‘German principles now pervade our theatre’ and shows such principles to be of ‘very dangerous import’, as they ‘afford a sanction to vice’ which ‘the multitude are always too ready to embrace’.72 William Gifford duplicates this postulation in his commentary offered in The Anti-Jacobin Review. Defining Elvira as ‘one of the most reprehensible characters that was ever suffered to disgrace the stage’, Gifford aligns Elvira’s occasional declamations of virtue with attempts made by ‘modern philosophers’ from the German school to ‘hide enormity under the mask of lofty expression’. Considering Elvira’s portrayal ‘Perfectly reconcilable to the new system in philosophy’, Gifford declares: Vice, of a nature the most threatening to the well-being of society, is rendered amiable by the poet’s aid – There is not a girl of any elevation of spirit and ignorance of the world, who will not, on witnessing the effusion of this unusual personage in the drama, cry out “how admirable Elvira’s sentiments and conduct are!” The poor girl loses sight of the flagitious part of the woman’s character, in the more dazzling one of the heroine. […] This is no new charge against Kotzebue. […] it is only part of a system adopted by the new philosophy, and assiduously cultivated in every possible way, so as to loosen those bonds which have hitherto so successfully held society together; and we all of us know, by daily experience, how far the seduction of the female mind has that powerful tendency.73

Gifford’s complaint chimes harmoniously with Preston’s. With Elvira’s ‘flagitious’ conduct palliated by the ‘glare of sentiment’, naïve female theatregoers, prone to seduction by what they see on stage, will feel impelled to imitate Elvira’s unfeminine and violent conduct, conflating it with the virtue she at other times exhibits. Such ill-directed sympathies pose a grave threat to social cohesion, threatening to eradicate national peace, and thus to fulfil the alleged intentions of ‘the new philosophy’ currently ransacking Britain via the vehicle of German drama. As is clear from these accounts, objections to Elvira centre less so on the heroine’s egregious conduct in and of itself, than on the extent to which such conduct is liable to be forgiven and even admired. As theatre critic Samuel Bardsley succinctly conjectured in 1800, ‘[t]he character of Elvira  ‘Pizarro; a Tragedy, in Five Acts’, The Gentleman’s Magazine (August 1799), 691.  William Gifford, ‘REMARKS ON KOTZEBUE’S PIZARRO’, Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine (June 1799), 208-209. 72 73

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is calculated to attract more admiration and esteem, than is consistent with a just sense of female decorum and virtuous sensibility’ as her ‘departure from the strict rules of female chastity and refined delicacy’ is combined with ‘lofty sentiment and energy of character’.74 It is this coalescence of deplorable indecorum and commendable sentiment that casts Elvira in such a baleful mould. As the reviewers unanimously suggest, the latter qualities, by assuaging the former, propel Elvira upwards, undeservedly, in the audience’s estimation, allowing for the misdirection of sympathy and respect.

‘I am a Woman Desperate’: Anglicising the Sword-­Bearing German Heroine The sources assessed thus far have spotlighted the prevalent criticisms directed against aggressive German and Anglo-German heroines throughout the 1790s and early 1800s. While P’s commentary on Schiller’s Amelia shows the defectiveness of the German heroine to lie in her substitution of feminine softness for masculine boldness, commentaries on Lewis’ and Sheridan’s Anglo-German heroines point to a shared apprehension of the figures’ incapacity to arouse an appropriate emotional response on account of her hybridity. While, for W. B, the result of this is quite simply emotional withdrawal, for reviewers such as Preston, Comber and Gifford, the far more pernicious outcome is sympathetic identification with a heroine aligned more so with vice than virtue. If the aggressive German heroine was thus to be adequately cleansed of her foreign affiliations, she would need to be stripped both of her masculinity and her inconstancy. Holman’s The Red-Cross Knights and Cumberland’s Joanna offer exemplary demonstrations of the meticulous efforts being made at the close of the 1790s to anglicise violent German heroines in line with such requirements. Instead of appearing wholly masculine, like the ‘magnanimous and bold’ German heroine condemned by P, or presenting a jarring mis-match of masculine obduracy and feminine sensibility, like the ‘Bedlamites’ described by Preston, the heroines presented by Holman and Cumberland manage to uphold a consistent display of feminine virtue and vulnerability, even while bearing arms.

74  Samuel Ardent Bardsley, Critical Remarks on Pizarro (London: T.  Cadell Junior and W. Davies, 1800), 46-47.

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When Holman came to adapt Schiller’s The Robbers for the London stage in 1799, the German tragedy had been adopted so definitively as an espousal of revolutionary doctrine that the National Convention had made Schiller an honorary citizen of France, despite the author never subscribing to Jacobinism.75 Within this political context, it is no surprise that Alexander Fraser Tytler’s largely literal translation of Schiller’s The Robbers, introduced to Britain in 1792, was deemed wholly unfit for dramatic representation.76 Seven years later, however, Holman successfully transported Schiller’s tragedy to London’s patent stage, albeit in heavily revised form, via The Red-Cross Knights. With his earlier adaptation having been ‘prohibited by the licenser’, Holman made great efforts in his second attempt at revising The Robbers to placate the play’s more troubling implications. Rather than simply making ‘curtailments, and such variations as most dramas require which are not native productions’, as was his method the first time round, Holman informs readers in the play’s advertisement that he determined ‘on forming a play, which should retain as much as possible of the original, with the omission of all that could be deemed objectionable’.77 And he evidently accomplished his task: not only was his play cleared for representation at the Haymarket Theatre, but reviewers commended Holman for taking a play which ‘has been reprobated as immoral and improper for the stage’, and ‘improv[ing] on the original’ by removing all ‘these faults’.78 Key to Holman’s success in reappropriating The Robbers for a British audience, yet largely overlooked in Anglo-German theatre scholarship, are the amendments made to his heroine’s martial conduct.79 The Red-Cross Knights introduces London theatregoers to the character of Schiller’s Amelia under the new name of Eugenia. In both Tytler’s and Holman’s adaptations, Amelia/Eugenia reacts to the advances of her husband’s amorous brother (Francis/Roderic) by partaking in armed combat. In Tytler’s play, deviating scarcely from Schiller’s, Amelia first ‘strikes’ her wooer, then ‘she draws out his sword’ and declares: ‘see’st now thou villain, what I can do? I am a woman—but a woman—when in fury—Dare  See Mortensen, ‘Robbing the Robbers’, 43.  On Tytler’s play see ibid., 41-61; Mortensen, ‘The Robbers and the Police’, 132; and Burwick ‘Schiller’s Plays’, 302-320. 77  J. G. Holman, The Red-Cross Knights (London: Cawthorn, 1799), i, ii-iii. 78  The European Magazine (September 1799), 188. See also The Monthly Review or Literary Journal (July 1800), 322; and Critical Review (December 1799), 472. 79  For analyses of Holman’s play in relation to Schiller’s source text see Mortensen, British Romanticism, 164-170; and Burwick ‘Schiller’s Plays’, 302-320. 75 76

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to come near me and this steel my uncle’s hand shall drive it to thy heart.’80 By contrast, when Roderic ‘approaches to seize Eugenia, she draws his dagger’ against him, then issues the threat: ‘Behold villain, what I can do? Although I am a woman, I am a woman desperate. Dare to approach me, and this steel shall pierce thy heart!’81 The changes made to the heroine’s actions in this scene are subtle but significant. Tytler’s/Schiller’s heroine illustrates her proclivity for violence by striking her aggressor, before demonstrating her mastery of a weapon reserved for the exclusively male realm of the battlefield, and embracing the ‘fury’ that she feels towards her enemy. In doing so, she exhibits both a physical and psychological capacity for martial warfare and combat. Meanwhile, failing to ‘strike’ her aggressor; equipped with the smaller and lighter weapon of a dagger, commonly aligned with private and domesticated violence; and described not as a ‘woman roused to fury’, but as ‘a woman desperate’, Eugenia’s armed confrontation of the villain appears less like a voluntary recourse to impressive martial exertion, than it does the reluctant last resort of a physically unremarkable damsel in distress. Even with such revisions in place, when Holman’s play was brought forward for performance, Eugenia’s aptitude for armed violence was alleviated further. In Tytler’s script, as in Schiller’s, Amelia, still armed with her weapon, reflects on her martial actions with the exclamation: ‘Ah! Now I am at ease! I can breathe again! I felt a Tyger’s rage—the mettled Courser’s strength’.82 In the licensing copy of Holman’s Red-Cross Knights, Eugenia delivers a shortened version of this speech, in which she maintains solely that she ‘felt a Tyger’s rage—the mettled Courser’s strength’.83 On the one hand, Holman’s curtailment of Amelia’s original speech mitigates the challenging implication, embedded in the source text, that the act of martial violence considerably enhances the heroine’s equanimity: Holman’s heroine, unlike Schiller’s, does not claim to feel ‘at ease’ following her recourse to armed combat. Nonetheless, the remaining exclamation preserves the implied interchangeability of masculine and 80  Watt Tytler (Alexander Fraser), The Robbers, second ed. (London: G. G. and J. Robinson, 1795), III.i.71, 72. Schiller’s source text in fact surpasses the agency granted to Amelia in Tytler’s translation, as no reference is made by Schiller to Amelia’s ‘uncle’s hand’. See the reproduction of Schiller’s original scene in P, ‘Criticism’, 176-177. 81  Holman, Red-Cross Knights, III.i.35. 82  Tytler, Robbers, III.i.72. 83  MS copy of J. G. Holman, The Red-Cross Knights. 21 Aug. 1799. John Larpent Plays, The Huntingdon Library. LA1265. III.i.33.

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feminine emotion detectable in the source text. The procurement of weaponry is shown instantly to furnish Eugenia with psychological traits typically reserved for men: the resilience of a warhorse and the aggressiveness of a tiger. Far from proving herself mentally unsuited to military conduct on account of her gender, Eugenia consequently indicates the facility with which female emotion can be adapted for the performance of armed warfare. Though lacking Amelia’s implied physical capacity to handle a sword, apparent predisposition to violence, and composed attitude towards armed combat, Eugenia nevertheless undergoes a seamless transition from vulnerable to intrepid when forced to take up arms. In the performed play  text, Eugenia’s subversive references to the ‘Tyger’s rage’ and ‘mettled Courser’s strength’ are additionally excised. Reminiscent of Inchbald’s Next Door Neighbours, also performed at the Haymarket Theatre under George Colman’s management, and discussed in Chap. 2, another case is exposed here in which anxieties around arms-­ bearing women seem to pertain as much so to the implied transferability of gendered behaviours as they do gendered feelings: 84 while Eugenia is allowed to act like a man, to permit her to think and feel like a man simultaneously presents too great a threat to biologically essentialist models of gender, which insist on substantial and fixed distinctions between male and female psychologies.85 In depicting his heroine’s armed combat in this revised manner, Holman succeeds in creating a heroine of consistently feminine character. Having exploited the scope for sentimentalisation offered in Schiller’s source text, by foregrounding the familial affections directed by Eugenia towards her lover and father-in-law, Holman upholds Eugenia’s display of feminine softness even during martial combat, through camouflaging her former exhibition of physical strength and masculine boldness beneath a display of womanly despair.86 One year later, Cumberland was also faced with the problem of a sword-­ bearing German heroine when choosing to adapt Kotzebue’s Joanna for performance at Covent Garden. The changes made to his heroine’s martial conduct bear striking similarities in ideological effect to those implemented by Holman. And yet, Cumberland insists in his play’s preface that the revisions made to Joanna’s military exertions derive wholly from 84  On Colman’s alleged intervention in the revisions made to the performed version of Inchbald’s Next Door Neighbours see Chap. 2. 85  See Chap. 2. 86  See Holman, Red-Cross Knights, II.ii.24-25.

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practical necessity. Commenting on the final scene of Kotzebue’s source text, which sees Joanna step in to decide the outcome of a dual fought between Albert, her husband, and Lazarra, the villainous rival for her affections, Cumberland declares: On the German stage, Albert, in combat with his rival, stumbles over the root of a tree, and falls to the ground; in this instant Joanna rushes in accoutred in the complete armour of a warlike knight, and with a huge sword of two-handed sway dispatches Lazarra at a stroke. Albert, thus critically rescued, rises and requests the unknown knight to put up his visor, when to his astonishment he discovers his preserver in the person of his wife. How they manage these matters on the German stage I cannot pretend to say; perhaps […] their actresses [are] more adroit in warlike operations than our own; but if we found difficulty in the action, simplified as it is, how much more should we have been embarrassed in point of execution had we undertaken to perform it in the spirit of the original?87

According to the commentary, Cumberland’s primary motivation for altering Joanna’s conduct in the play’s closing scene is owing to the alleged inability of an English actress to perform such physical feats. Cumberland deems it unfeasible for his actress to appear in ‘the complete armour of a warlike knight’: a cumbersome costume perhaps deemed liable to render his actress uncomfortable; he is opposed to her being armed with ‘a huge sword’: a weapon suggestively too substantial for his actress to control; and he takes umbrage with her performing a ‘two-handed sway’ of the sword: a manoeuvre seemingly perceived to surpass the athleticism of his female performer. While the role’s requirements might be achievable, suggests Cumberland, by the unnaturally masculine German actress, they are entirely unsuited to Britain’s appropriately feminine equivalent.88 In justifying his aversion to Kotzebue’s source text on grounds of female biology, Cumberland echoes attitudes to the bodily abilities of British actresses circulating in contemporary reviews of sword-wielding heroines. In 1795, opinions anticipating Cumberland’s were sparked by 87  Richard Cumberland, Joanna of Montfaucon; A Dramatic Romance (London: Lackington, Allen and co. 1800), viii-ix. 88  Cumberland’s Joanna was played by Mrs Maria Ann Pope. Though a favourite at Covent Garden, accounts of the inadequate mastery that the actress held over her limbs imply that she was not the best choice to attempt the fulfilment of the original Joanna. See Philip Highfill et  al. (eds.), A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers, and other Stage Personnel, 16 vols. (USA: Southern Illinois UP, 1993), XII:73-77.

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the Amazonian heroine Lady Surrey featured in George Watson’s explicitly patriotic drama England Preserved (CG; 1795). As well as leading an army into battle against the French, Lady Surrey ‘snatches up [a] sword’ and directs it at a French guard in protection of her husband.89 Commenting on Lady Surrey’s military actions in The London Packet, a journalist declared: The incessant labour requisite to fill the part of Lady Surrey is actually beyond the bodily powers of the female frame. – Miss Wallis, as long as her strength lasted, was very successful; [but] the character will bear considerably cutting down.90

Anticipating Cumberland’s response to Kotzebue’s Joanna, the journalist objects to Lady Surrey’s masculine conduct not on account of subversive ideological inferences, but owing to the perceived impossibility in performance of the British actress’ physical rendition of the ‘incessant labour’ required of the role. With practical necessity serving as a viable excuse for keeping even politically conservative native dramas free of combatant heroines whose actions encroached too heavily upon those of the male soldier, such adjudged physical incapacity among British actresses provided a ready guise behind which dramatists such as Cumberland, adapting the controversial plays of Kotzebue, could attempt the concealment of intensely partisan agendas. For Cumberland’s British actress successfully to emulate her German counterpart in simulating a military hero on stage would be to call into question both gendered and national distinctions at a time when revolutionary events were already challenging essentialist understandings of male/female behaviours, and when xenophobic attitudes were increasingly positioning Germany, along with France, as a morally inferior European ‘other’, whose lack of refinement, as Mackenzie’s ‘Account’ attests, could be glimpsed in the vulgarity and unwomanliness of the country’s female inhabitants.91 Cumberland’s 89  George Watson, England Preserved: an historical play, in five acts, as performed at the Theatre-Royal, Covent-Garden (London: T.N. Longman, 1795), IV.iii.63. 90  The London Packet; or, New Evening Post, 20-23 February 1795. Also printed in Star and Evening Advertiser, 23 February 1795. On England Preserved and Lady Surrey see Paula R. Backscheider, ‘Politics and Gender in a Tale of Two Plays’, in Women, Popular Culture, and the Eighteenth Century, ed. Tiffany Potter (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012) 52-63. 91  See Mackenzie, ‘Account’, 176.

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awareness of the gendered and national implications at stake in the portrayal of his armed heroine can be detected in the amendments made to the closing scene of Joanna. Departing from Kotzebue’s source text, in Cumberland’s denouement, Joanna ‘rushes in’ and ‘utters a scream of horror’ before ‘plunging a dagger’, as opposed to a sword, in ‘Lazarra’s heart’ and watching him fall ‘with the stroke’.92 By re-writing the denouement this way, Cumberland divests both his performer and his heroine of the masculine characteristics requisite to Kotzebue’s production. Intent on emphasising inherent distinctions between British and European females, at a moment when the blurring of such categories portended the social anarchy witnessed across the Channel, Cumberland negates the risk of his English actress proving herself capable of the corporeal feats achieved by her unnaturally ‘warlike’ German counterpart, by denying her the opportunity to attempt such ‘warlike’ feats on stage. At the same time, Cumberland matches Holman in implementing narrative revisions that substantially downplay his heroine’s martial agency and soldierly character, thereby mitigating the source text’s subversive implications regarding gender. Kotzebue’s heroine, appearing in full armour and thrusting a sword, represents an out and out war hero. Her actions are rational, strategic and pre-meditated. Aware that her husband is in danger, she equips herself with the armoury and weaponry needed to come to his rescue by performing the duty of soldier. She fulfils her military feat so seamlessly that her husband is astonished to discover that his preserver is not in fact a military general, but rather, his wife. In Cumberland’s version, Joanna shifts from military hero to desperate lover. Rather than arriving at the scene with military command and authority, fully equipped for battle, Joanna maintains her previously sentimental characterisation. Consonant with her earlier depiction as a ‘wretched wife’, whose anticipation of ‘a widow’s agonies’ causes her impulsively to attempt self-slaughter, Joanna enters the scene screaming like a hysterical sentimental heroine, before being prompted by ‘horror’ to take up a dagger, at the spur of the moment, and rashly stab her husband’s enemy.93 While Kotzebue’s heroine thereby communicates the radical 92  Cumberland, Joanna, V.iii.85; The Lady’s Monthly Museum (February 1800), 155; Cumberland, Joanna, V.iii.85. The murder weapon is not recorded in the published play text, but reviews refer to it varyingly as a ‘dagger’ and a ‘pike’. Alongside the review cited above, see Dramatic Censor (18 January 1800), 105. 93  Cumberland, Joanna, I.iii.29; IV.ii.60; V.iii.85.

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suggestion that women parallel their male counterparts’ capacity to excel on the battlefield, Cumberland enforces conservative ideas around female sensibility and hysteria: his heroine is successful in saving her husband’s life not because that she is well-drilled in military techniques, but because that her emotions take over, and force her, unthinkingly, to commit a deed at which, as we learn in her penultimate speech, she subsequently ‘tremble[s] to behold’.94 Despite Cumberland’s insistence, therefore, that the changes made to the final scene of Joanna straightforwardly reflect the bodily limitations of the British actress, the analogies in effect between Holman’s and Cumberland’s revisions strongly intimate the equivalent biases underpinning each heroine’s amended characterisation. Re-envisaging the German amazon in psychological as well as physical terms, Holman and Cumberland neutralise the challenges posed by the figure to the country’s prevailing ideologies around nationhood and sex. While the German heroines of Schiller’s and Kotzebue’s source texts both look and think like military heroes, dexterously handling cumbersome battlefield weapons with zeal and self-assurance, their anglicised equivalents, armed instead with daggers, are dispossessed of such implied bodily and mental strength when acting desperately upon strong spousal affections. Through the process of sentimentalisation, Holman and Cumberland consequently succeed in purifying their violent German heroines of the foreign defects shown to hinder the figure’s suitability for the British theatre. No longer wholeheartedly ‘heroic, magnanimous and bold’, like the unamiable amazon derided by P, nor amalgamating ‘feminine, good and amiable’ qualities with ‘mannish manners, and bold ferocity’, like the ‘Bedlamites’ decried by Preston, both Eugenia and Joanna offer constant displays of the ‘softer virtues’ and ‘minor graces’ seen to constitute female goodness, and are accordingly able to ‘excite interest’ and act ‘powerfully on the feelings’ of their British spectators, without ‘seducing [their] pity for vices’.95

‘To Have Leapt upon him with a Tiger’s Plunge’: The Schiller-esque Heroine of Coleridge’s Remorse If Holman and Cumberland successfully re-appropriated their German heroines for the London stage by bedecking them with uniform exhibitions of feminine sensibilities, a very different method of appropriation  Ibid., V.iii.86.  P, ‘Criticism’, 177; Preston, ‘Reflections’, Part 2, 13; P, ‘Criticism’, 176.

94 95

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was utilised by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his own take on The Robbers staged at Drury Lane in 1813. Revived from his unperformed tragedy Osorio of 1797, which had been inspired by the ‘romantic & wild & somewhat terrible’ content of Schiller’s early drama, Coleridge’s decision to stage Remorse at a time when he was embarking on a quest to rid the stage of the ‘so-called German drama’, and had publicly renounced the republican sensibilities to which The Robbers allegedly spoke, has posed a conundrum for British Romantic theatre scholars.96 At the forefront of such conundrum sits the tragedy’s murderous heroine, Alhadra.97 Set during the Spanish Inquisition and maintaining Schiller’s narrative of two warring brothers—Ordonio and Alvar—the subplot of Remorse sees Alhadra arrive on scene demanding the release of her unfairly imprisoned husband, Isidore, from the Inquisitional leader, Ordonio.98 Though at first agreeing to grant her this wish, Ordonio subsequently murders Isidore in a cavern, leaving Alhadra widowed, and the Moors without their chief. Knowing Ordonio to be the instrument of Isidore’s death, Alhadra raises a troop of Moors to seek vengeance against Isidore’s killer, and in the play’s final scene, surrounded by her army, Alhadra stabs the villain dead. Offering a nod to Schiller’s Amelia in her recourse to armed combat, Remorse presents a far bolder and fiercer Schillerean heroine than that depicted by Holman at the close of the previous century. While Holman’s Eugenia was shown to resort reluctantly to violence out of necessity, Alhadra evokes not only Schiller’s Amelia, but the maleficent Karl Moor, in her instinctive and enthusiastic proclivity for bloodthirsty retribution. When Alhadra sees Ordonio for the first time since her imprisonment, she automatically ‘clutche[s] [her] dagger and half unsheathe[s] it’. Recalling an earlier sighting of Ordonio encountered prior to the play’s action, she tells how: As he walked along the narrow path Close by the mountain’s edge, my soul grew eager; ’T’was with hard toil I made myself remember  Coleridge to William Lisle Bowles, 16 March 1797, in The Collected Letters, I:318.  On studies spotlighting Alhadra’s indebtedness to German theatrical trends see Carlson, In the Theatre, 94-133; Irving, ‘Coleridge as Playwright’, 2-11; and Mortensen, ‘The Robbers and the Police’, 128-143. 98  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Remorse, A Tragedy in Five Acts, in The Complete Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol II: Dramatic Works and Appendices, ed. Ernest Hartley Coleridge (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957), I.ii.829. 96 97

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That his Familiars had my babes and husband. To have leapt upon him with a tiger’s plunge And hurl’d him down the rugged precipice, Oh it had been most sweet!99

Countering ideas around women’s physical incapacity for violence and natural inclination against it, Alhadra experiences ‘hard toil’ not in the performance of violence, but in the effort to allay her desire to perform it. Coleridge further reverses revisions implemented in The Red-Cross Knights by showing Alhadra to embody the same ‘Tyger’s rage’ and enhanced emotional comfort through violence (the thought of aggression is considered ‘most sweet’) that Eugenia was prohibited to feel; and he resurrects the heroine’s use of a battlefield weapon when allowing Alhadra seamlessly to take up her murdered husband’s ‘sword’ when ‘it said, Vengeance!’100 Accordingly, Coleridge revives in Alhadra characteristic features of the transgressive German heroine that prior dramatists and commentators had sought to omit from the British stage. Alhadra’s indebtedness not purely to Schiller’s heroine, but to his mutinous protagonist, too, is indicated overtly through her subscription to the Robbers-esque axiom that ‘great evils ask great passions to redress them’.101 Strikingly reminiscent of Elvira’s refusal to heed the advice of the pious Rolla, Alhadra rejects the pacifistic teachings of her Christian foil, Alvar, in favour of the mode of reprise practised by the vengeful and impious Karl Moor. Adamant that man’s ‘arm shrinks wither’d’ and his ‘bones soften’ under the dictates of Christianity, Alhadra swears an oath to ‘Alla and the prophet’ that her ‘woman’s heart shall have no groan/’Til [she] ha[s] seen that sword/wet with the life blood of the son of Valdez!’102 Emulating the vindictiveness of Karl Moor by fostering the same self-imposed immunity to Christianity and femininity that Elvira had exhibited sixteen years previously, Alhadra communicates a curious kinship with figures derived from Schiller and Kotzebue, who, as we have seen, were aligned wholeheartedly with the ‘German principles’ that Coleridge himself was on a professed mission to expel from the London stage.103  Coleridge, Remorse, I.ii.829.  Ibid., V.i.879. 101  Ibid., I.ii.830. For a detailed comparison of Remorse and Pizarro see DeRochi, ‘Removing the Romantic Rubric’, 51-70. 102  Coleridge, Remorse, IV.iii.869. 103  ‘Pizarro; a Tragedy’, Gentleman’s Magazine, 691. 99

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Somewhat ironically, this palpable tension between Coleridge’s dramatic criticism and theatrical practice is alleviated not by the method of sentimentalisation adopted by Holman and Cumberland, but, quite contrarily, by the enhancement of the quintessentially German ‘mannish manners and bold ferocity’ with which he had furnished Alhadra in his unstaged tragedy Osorio.104 Adopting a standpoint shared by many former radicals, Coleridge seems to disclose in Remorse his maintained reverence for the aims on which the revolution was based, while, diverging from his position in Osorio, he patently decries their execution.105 In Act 2 scene 2 of Remorse, Alvar refers to Alhadra as a ‘Nobly-minded woman’ when recognising that for a ‘long time against oppression’ both he and she have fought.106 While ‘Nobly-minded’ in the principles she espouses, however, Coleridge confirms unequivocally that such righteousness does not extend to Alhadra’s actions by lessening the justness, humaneness and amiability that she had exhibited in Osorio. The play’s famously revised denouement plays a central role in this process. While Osorio had closed with a speech delivered by Alhadra advocating her Jacobinical and Robbers-esque recourse to violent reprise as the surest means by which ‘the strongholds of the cruel men should fall’, Alhadra’s eulogy of violent activism does not appear in the manuscript copy of Remorse performed at Drury Lane.107 And though it features in the published play text, it is no longer the note on which the play concludes.108 Rather, the final speech on both page and stage is granted to the virtuous Alvar, who enforces the Christian doctrine of allowing ‘Just Heaven’, in ‘these strange dread events’, to ‘instruct us with [the] awful voice’ of ‘Conscience’.109 The amended ending reduces audiences’ compassion for Alhadra by leaving them in no doubt that she acted erroneously when ignoring Alvar’s advice to ‘leave vengeance and depart’.110  Preston, ‘Reflections’, Part 1, 13.  On shifting political sympathies exhibited in Osorio and Remorse see Carlson, In the Theatre, 94-133; Irving, ‘Coleridge as Playwright’, 2-11; and Mortensen, ‘The Robbers and the Police’, 128-143. 106  Coleridge, Remorse, II.ii.141. 107  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Osorio: A Tragedy (1797) in Complete Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol II, ed. Coleridge, V.ii.597. For the licensing copy see Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Remorse, 4 Jan. 1813, John Larpent Plays, The Huntingdon Library, LA1753. 108  See Coleridge, Remorse, V.i.880. 109  Ibid., V.i.881. 110  Ibid., II.ii.841. 104 105

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Equally important in revising Alhadra’s identity from Osorio to Remorse are accompanying textual omissions and intended circumstances of performance: each of which work to divest Remorse’s Alhadra of the humane and feminine graces that she would have presented on stage in 1797. Textual revisions made to the performed play  text of Remorse cause Alhadra to cut a softer figure in Osorio than she does at Drury Lane. In Act 5 scene 1 of Osorio, Alhadra gives way to sentimental effusions on the ‘world of beauty’ presented before her, exalting the ‘flower-like woods, most lovely in decay’ and the ‘blossoming hues of fire and gold’.111 Having offered this glimpse into her innately Romantic sensibilities, Alhadra subsequently vindicates the misanthropy and cold heartedness which dominates her present psychological state by exposing her alienation from ‘the sympathy of human faces’, which is needed ‘to beat away this deep contempt for all things, which quenches my revenge’.112 Through this speech, which is omitted from the performance of Remorse, Alhadra defends herself against charges of unnatural masculinity and unwarranted vice by demonstrating that her inborn sympathies have not been relinquished voluntarily, but have been forcibly destroyed by the cynicism and aggression imposed upon her by inequitable circumstances.113 Additionally removed from the performed play  text of Remorse is a monologue delivered by Alvar in which the protagonist echoes Alhadra’s suggestion that one who sees only ‘savage faces’ and experiences ‘uncomforted and friendless solitude’ will come to nurture an ‘angry spirit’: a conclusion reached by Alvar during his own experience of Inquisitional persecution while disguised as a Moor.114 In having the play’s embodiment of spotless Christian magnanimity imply his inevitable demise into destructiveness and misanthropy if faced with the treatment encountered by Alhadra, sympathy for the play’s Moresco woman is encouraged, as Coleridge shows even the most humane of individuals to be susceptible to the hardening effects of perpetual oppression. The inclusion of these speeches in Osorio had painted Alhadra as a heroine not devoid of humanity and feminine softness: modelled as a woman nurturing innate sensitivities and private affections, whose victimisation at  Coleridge, Osorio, V.i.584.  Coleridge, Remorse, IV.iii.868. 113  Again, the speech appears in the published text, but not in the licensing manuscript. See Remorse, IV.iii.869. 114  Coleridge, Osorio, V.i.587. Featured in publication of Remorse at V.i.871, 872, though absent from the licensing copy. 111 112

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the hands of ‘cruel men’ has thrown her into ‘misery’, Alhadra bears some resemblance to the sentimental figure of virtue in distress. That Coleridge had wished for these sentimental components of Alhadra’s character to be foregrounded in Osorio is inferred by his proposed cast. When preparing Osorio for Covent Garden in 1797, Coleridge had intended for Sarah Siddons to play his leading female figure.115 Fully aware of the effects of her dramatic talents, Coleridge praised the actress in the eighth series of his ‘Sonnets on Eminent Characters’ with the exclamation: ‘SIDDONS!— Meltest my sad heart!’116 Siddons’ capability to magnify the softer facets of even the most morally scrupulous heroines led theatre critics to caution against the actress’ propensity to transfer ‘all her interesting powers’ in support of a ‘dramatic monster’.117 These warnings acquired especial pertinence when Siddons performed Sheridan’s Elvira in 1799: embellished by Siddons with the ‘mixed dignity and tenderness’ that characterised so many of her parts, Siddons was arguably complicit in aiding the heroine’s dangerous reception as ‘an object of Sympathy and Interest’.118 Consequently, Siddons’ biographer James Boaden objected to Siddons’ rendition of Elvira, and a journalist writing for the Evening Mail suggested that Siddons would have been better placed as Elvira’s feminine and sentimental foil, Cora.119 Apparently no longer intent in 1812 on painting Alhadra as a figure who would ‘Meltest [the] sad heart’, Coleridge offered the role of his Moresco woman to the young actress Sarah Smith. Typifying public opinion of the actress, and rendering plain the distinction between Smith’s dramatic talents and those belonging to Siddons, a journalist writing for the Theatrical Inquisitor wrote of Smith’s acting:  See Coleridge to Bowles, 16 March 1797, in Collected Letters, I:318.  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ‘Sonnets on Eminent Characters’ in The Poetical and Dramatic Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (London: Basil Montagu Pickering, 1877), 140. 117  Bell’s Weekly Messenger, 4 December, 1796. 118  Anon., A Critique on the Tragedy of Pizarro as Represented at Drury Lane Theatre (London: W. Miller, 1799), 39; Bardsley, Critical Remarks on Pizarro, 28. Selena Couture shows Siddons’ portrayal of Elvira in the final scene to be especially significant in amplifying audience’s compassion for the heroine due to her visual citation, while dressed in the nun’s white tunic and veil, of her former rendition of Lady Macbeth in the sleepwalking scene (discussed in Chapter 3 of this study). See Couture, ‘Siddons’ Ghost: Celebrity and Gender in Sheridan’s Pizarro’, Theatre Journal, vol. 65, no. 2 (May 2013), 183-196. 119  See James Boaden, Memoirs of Mrs Siddons: Interspersed with anecdotes of Authors and Actors, 2 vols (London: H.C. Carey & I. Lea, 1827), II:326; ‘Theatre’, Evening Mail, 27 May 1799. 115 116

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It is impossible for this lady to assume the appearance of loveliness, or of interesting sensibility. It is in the expression of the less amiable passions, of the more violent emotions of hatred, jealously and revenge: in the representation of woe worn misanthropy, or comfortless despair, that she excels herself and electrifies the audience.120

The reviewer’s account implies a congruity in intended effect between Coleridge’s shifting cast, and the textual revisions separating the heroines of Osorio and Remorse. While Siddons’ ‘dignity and tenderness’ befits the humane and sentimental effusions granted to Alhadra in 1797, Smith’s proclivity for ‘the more violent emotions of hatred, jealously and revenge’, and inability to embody ‘loveliness’ or ‘sensibility’, chimes with Alhadra’s hardened portrayal in the performance copy of Remorse. Regrettably for Coleridge, the clearcut ‘representation of woe worn misanthropy, or comfortless despair’ that Smith’s rendition of Alhadra had promised never materialised on stage. Smith rejected the role of Alhadra in favour of Remorse’s sentimental heroine, Teresa: a part which Coleridge reluctantly granted the actress, despite lamenting that it was ‘not appropriate to her Talents’.121 In place of Smith, Alhadra was embodied by Julia Glover: a seemingly logical second choice, given her renown in fierce Amazonian roles including the aforementioned Lady Surrey in Watson’s England Preserved (CG; 1797), and the huntress Lady Zephyrine in Charlotte Smith’s What is She (CG; 1800).122 According to a selection of reviewers, Glover was not unsuccessful in replicating Smith’s anticipated magnification of Alhadra’s ‘less amiable’ characteristics. Glover’s Alhadra was described in The British Review as an ‘irritable and revengeful’ woman, ‘destitute of any attractions’,123 and The Morning Chronicle considered her a useful pawn in the ‘artful management’ of the plot, as she allowed the punishment of Ordonio to devolve ‘on a fierce and uncontroulable spirit of revenge’, so as ‘to leave no stain on the more perfect and interesting characters.’124

120  ‘H’, Theatrical Inquisitor (March 1813), reproduced in J.  R. de J.  Jackson (ed.), Coleridge: The Critical Heritage (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1970), 144. 121  Coleridge to Daniel Stuart. 22 December 1812, in The Collected Letters, III:426. 122  See Highfill et al. (eds.), Biographical Dictionary, VI:235-241. 123  The British Review (May 1813), reproduced in Jackson (ed.), Coleridge: The Critical Heritage, 169. 124  The Morning Chronicle, 25 Jan. 1813, reproduced in ibid., 114.

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From an assessment of textual revisions and planned circumstances of production, it is feasible to argue that when Alhadra appeared on stage in 1813, her ferocity was no longer combated by exhibitions of tenderness as it would have been in 1797. Accordingly, while Alhadra is comparable to the uniformly unamiable German heroine described by Mackenzie and P, she diverges fundamentally in effect from the characters found in the ‘so-­ called German drama’ against which Coleridge rails. In place of the incongruous amalgamations of laudable humanity and barbarous ferocity displayed by Schiller’s Karl Moor and Sheridan’s Elvira, the performed version of Alhadra offers a consistent portrayal of the latter, and thereby lacks the hybridity that crucially characterises those ‘benevolent butchers’ who inspire for vice ‘all the sympathies which are the due of virtue’.125 As such, while Schiller, Sheridan and Coleridge each adorn their dramas with unprincipled figures, it is arguably the former two exclusively, who, by distorting ‘the flagitious part[s]’ of their characters beneath ‘the glare of sentiment’, can be accused of the quintessentially ‘jacobinical’ crime of exhibiting ‘virtuous vice’.126 ‘Mrs Glover’s Powerful Assistance’: Complicating Remorse’s Reception The above interpretation of Remorse exonerates Coleridge from the charge of knowingly exhibiting on stage an Anglo-German heroine antagonistic to the sentiments expressed in his dramatic criticism. Whether or not the performance of Remorse renders Coleridge guilty of adventitious hypocrisy, however, remains open to debate. Smith’s refusal to play Alhadra arguably exerted a greater impact over the play’s reception than Coleridge could have predicted. Unlike Smith’s rendition of the role, which was considered certain to represent Alhadra as a monolithic depiction of vice, Julia Glover’s performance invited a conversely ambivalent response. In contrast to the journalists writing for The British Review and The Morning Chronicle, a number of commentators pinpoint Glover’s delivery of Alhadra’s recollection of her imprisonment by the Inquisitors, along with her young child, as the most affecting scene in the play. A review printed in the Theatrical Inquisitor declared that ‘To [Alhadra’s] description indeed of her sufferings in the prison of the Inquisition the endurance of 125 126

 Coleridge, Biographia, II:391; Coleridge ‘Shakespeare’, 62.  Gifford, ‘Remarks’, 208; Coleridge, ‘Shakespeare’, 62.

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the piece was exclusively owing’.127 Similar eulogies offered in The Times and The Examiner credit the actress overtly with the remarkable degree of pathos generated by the scene. The review in The Times declares: The speech of the Moresco woman, describing her imprisonment, is a strong and deep picture of feelings that could scarcely be coloured too strongly. […] The whole dialogue of the part received great applause. Mrs Glover, as a comic actress, exhibits decided talents; but we have long been of opinion, that her strength lies in a superior department, and that as a tragedian, she has but little to fear from any competition. On Saturday, she exhibited some of the most subduing and striking powers of the art, and if the play is to live, she has a most important share in the merit of keeping it in existence.128

Thomas Barnes adjudged similarly of Alhadra’s imprisonment speech in The Examiner: [I]t is an impressive, high-wrought picture of a strong-feeling, noble-­spirited woman, whom tenderness supplies with energy, and whose daring springs from the gentlest affections – maternal and conjugal love. […] Mrs Glover, indeed, surprised us: with a face comic in every feature, with a person which engages no interest, with a voice whose every tone is unpleasing, she contrived to present to us one of the most impressive portraitures of strong passion that we ever recollect to have seen.129

Barnes’s allusion to Glover’s magnification of the ‘gentlest affections’ of maternal love is potentially telling. In the imprisonment speech to which all three journalists refer, Alhadra expresses maternal grievances when recalling her captivity as a ‘nursing mother’ in a dungeon with ‘no bed, no fire, no ray of light/no touch, no sound of comfort’. Reliving her past affliction, Alhadra exclaims, ‘Oh miserable! By that lamp to see/my infant quarrelling with the coarse hard bread/Brought daily; for the little wretch was sickly/—my rage had dried away its natural food’.130 Though brief in length, and thereby obscured textually by Alhadra’s lengthier proclamations of vengeful desire, the evident impact exerted by the speech  ‘Dramatic Criticism’, in Theatrical Inquisitor, and Monthly Mirror (February 1813), 62.  The Times, 25 January 1813. 129  Thomas Barnes, The Examiner (31 January 1813), reproduced in Jackson (ed.), Coleridge: The Critical Heritage, 124. 130  Coleridge, Remorse, I.ii.830. 127 128

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when delivered by Glover in 1813 derives arguably from the unforeseen circumstances impacting the actress’ rendition of the role. As Barnes infers in his commentary, Glover’s affecting performance of this scene defied expectation, given the actress’ physical and vocal discrepancies from performers better suited to the arousal of pathos. In January 1813, however, on account of personal tragedy, Glover was better equipped than ever to exhibit the affecting woes of a tortured mother. In his preface to Remorse, Coleridge writes: As the piece is now acting, it may be thought presumptuous in me to speak of the Actors; yet how can I abstain, feeling as I do, Mrs Glover’s powerful assistance, and knowing the circumstances under which she consented to act Alhadra? A time will come when without painfully oppressing her feelings, I may speak of this more fully.131

The circumstances surrounding Glover’s performance, which Coleridge refrains from disclosing in his preface, are subsequently revealed in a note accompanying the second edition of Remorse presented by Coleridge to Sarah Hutchinson. Coleridge informs his recipient: ‘Mrs G’s eldest child was buried on the Thursday—two others were ill’, and ‘spite of hers, the physicians and my most passionate remonstrances, she was forced to act Alhadra on the Saturday!!’132 As the note explains, Julia Glover witnessed the death of her eldest child just days before her debut in Remorse. Coleridge continues that as all ‘her affections flow in the channel of her maternal feelings’, she being such ‘a passionately fond mother’, it was with great difficulty that Glover brought herself ‘to act Alhadra on the Saturday after the Thursday’s burial!!’133 Parallels might be detected here between the circumstances surrounding Julia Glover’s rendition of Alhadra, and those impacting Sarah Yates’ aforementioned performance of Margaret of Anjou, discussed in Chap. 3.134 While the performance contexts differ in that Yates’ familial loss was widely publicised, while Glover’s was suppressed, the emphasis placed in the reviews on Glover’s unexpectedly poignant expressions of maternal affliction make it difficult to suppose that,  Coleridge, ‘Preface’, in Remorse, 814.  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Note from Second Edition of Remorse presented to Sarah Hutchinson, reproduced in Coleridge (ed.), The Complete Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol II, 814-815. 133  Note from Second Edition of Remorse, 814-5. 134  See my analysis of The Earl of Warwick in Chap. 3. 131 132

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suffering under the raw anguish of having just lost a child, Glover’s delivery of a speech recalling the ‘moanings’ and ‘peevish cries’ of her ‘sickly’ and ‘innocent babe’ had not been tinged with deeply affecting glimpses of the heartfelt maternal agony experienced by such ‘a passionately fond mother’.135 An interrogation of Remorse’s reception history thereby complicates the understanding of Alhadra as a straightforward embodiment of depravity, and, by extension, nuances Coleridge’s stark deviation in Remorse from the defining features of the ‘so-called German drama’.136 Alhadra’s mixed reception at Drury Lane as a figure who is concurrently ‘irritable and revengeful’, and ‘an impressive […] noble-spirited woman’, undermines her overt differentiation from Karl Moor and Elvira, as she too coalesces censurable and laudable traits.137 While complicating Coleridge’s definitive break from the ‘Kotzebuisms in morals and taste’ derided in his theatrical criticism, however, this Janus-faced depiction of Coleridge’s Spanish heroine is not irreconcilable in 1813 with a second allegorical meaning to which the tragedy points: the detection of which shields Coleridge somewhat from accusations of inspiring sympathy for a murderous Jacobin, by repositioning Alhadra as a Spanish guerrilla maid. If, on her initial conception, Alhadra had threatened to arouse compassion for Britain’s national enemy, in 1813, her equivocal characterisation speaks to the ambivalence with which British commentators, Coleridge included, were responding to their national allies in Spain. It is from this vantage point that I re-evaluate Remorse in my final chapter.

References Newspapers

and

Periodicals

Analytical Review: or, History of Literature Domestic and Foreign Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine (The) Bell’s Weekly Messenger British Review (The) Critical Review; or, Annals of Literature Dramatic Censor; or, Weekly Theatrical Report (The)  Coleridge, Remorse, I.ii.830.  The ambivalent reception invited by Glover’s Alhadra is rarely acknowledged in comparative analyses of Osorio and Remorse which tend to privilege textual analysis. 137  British Review, 169; Barnes, Examiner, 124. 135 136

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Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of The Royal Society of Edinburgh, Vol. 2, Issue 2 Edinburgh Magazine, or Literary Miscellany (The) European Magazine (The) Evening Mail Gentleman’s Magazine (The) Lady’s Monthly Museum, or Polite Repository of Amusement and Instruction (The) London Packet; or, New Evening Post (The) Monthly Register (The) Monthly Review, or, Literary Journal (The) St James’s Chronicle Star and Evening Advertiser Theatrical Inquisitor, and Monthly Mirror Times (The)

Online Collections The Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Electronic Edition, 6 vols (Virginia: InteLex Corporation, 2002)

Manuscript Collections Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, Remorse. A Tragedy. MS Copy. 4 January 1813. LA1753. John Larpent Plays, The Huntingdon Library, San Marino, California Holman, J. G., The Red-Cross Knights. MS Copy. 21 August 1799. LA1265. John Larpent Plays, The Huntingdon Library, San Marino, California

Primary and Secondary Works (Printed) Anon., A Critique on the Tragedy of Pizarro as Represented at Drury Lane Theatre (London: W. Miller, 1799) Anon., The Meteors, volume. 1 (London: A. and J. Black, 1800) Ashton, Rosemary, The German Idea: Four English Writers and the Reception of German Thought, 1800-1860 (London: Libris, 1994) Backscheider, Paula R., ‘Politics and Gender in a Tale of Two Plays’, in Women, Popular Culture, and the Eighteenth Century, ed. Tiffany Potter (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012) 52-63 Bardsley, Samuel Ardent, Critical Remarks on Pizarro (London: T. Cadell Junior and W. Davies, 1800) Boaden, James, Memoirs of Mrs Siddons: Interspersed with anecdotes of Authors and Actors, 2 vols (London: H.C. Carey & I. Lea, 1827) Britton, John, Sheridan and Kotzebue (London: J. Fairburn, 1799)

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Burke, Edmund, Reflections on the Revolution in France (London: J. Dodsley, 1790) Burwick, Frederick, ‘Schiller’s Plays on the British Stage, 1797-1825’, in Who is this Schiller Now? Essays on his Reception and Significance, eds. Jeffrey L. High, Nicholas Martin and Norbert Oellers (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2013), 302-320 Burwick, Frederick, The Illusion and the Drama (University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 1991) Carlson, Julie, ‘Command Performances: Burke, Coleridge, and Schiller’s Dramatic Reflections on the Revolution in France’, The Wordsworth Circle, vol. 23, no. 2 (Spring 1992), 117-134 Carlson, Julie, ‘Trying Sheridan’s Pizarro’, Texas Studies in Literature and Language, vol. 38, no. 3-4 (Fall/Winter 1996), 359-378 Carlson, Julie, In the Theatre of Romanticism: Coleridge, Nationalism, Women (Cambridge: CUP, 1994) Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, Biographia Literaria (1817), 2 vols., ed. Adam Roberts (Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2014) Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, Osorio: A Tragedy (1797) in The Complete Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol II: Dramatic Works and Appendices, ed. Ernest Hartley Coleridge (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957) Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, Remorse, A Tragedy in Five Acts (1813), in The Complete Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol II: Dramatic Works and Appendices, ed. Ernest Hartley Coleridge (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957) Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, The Complete Works of Coleridge, Vol IV: Lectures Upon Shakespeare and Other Dramatists, ed. Henry Nelson Coleridge (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1857) Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, The Poetical and Dramatic Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (London: Basil Montagu Pickering, 1877) Comber, Thomas, Adultery Analyzed: An Inquiry into the Causes of the Prevalence of That Vice in These Kingdoms at the Present Day (London: J. J. Stockdale, 1810) Couture, Selena, ‘Siddons’ Ghost: Celebrity and Gender in Sheridan’s Pizarro’, Theatre Journal, vol. 65, no. 2 (May 2013), 183-196 Couture, Selena, and Alexander Dick, ‘Introduction’ in Pizarro: A Tragedy in Five Acts, eds. Selena Couture and Alexander Dick (Canada: Broadview Press, 2017), 11-58 Cox, Jeffrey N., ‘Ideology and Genre in the British Antirevolutionary Drama of the 1790s’, ELH, vol. 58, no. 3 (Autumn, 1991), 579-610 Cox, Jeffrey N., ‘Introduction: Reanimating Gothic Drama’, in Gothic Studies, vol. 3, no. 2 (2003), 107-16 Cox, Jeffrey N., ‘Introduction’, in Seven Gothic Dramas, 1789-1825, ed. Cox (USA: Ohio UP, 1992), 1-12 Cox, Jeffrey N., In the Shadows of Romance: Romantic Tragic Drama in Germany, England, and France (Athens: Ohio UP, 1987)

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Cumberland, Richard, Joanna of Montfaucon; A Dramatic Romance (London: Lackington, Allen and co., 1800) DeRochi, Jack, ‘Removing the Romantic Rubric: The Dramatic Sameness of Sheridan and Coleridge’, RECTR, vol. 17, no. 1-2 (Summer 2002), 51-70 Gamer, Michael, Romanticism and the Gothic: Genre, Reception, and Canon Formation (Cambridge: CUP, 2000) Hazlitt, William, Lectures on the Dramatic Literature of the Age of Elizabeth (London: John Warren, 1821) High, Jeffrey L., ‘Schiller, Coleridge, and the Reception of the Gothic Tale’, Colloquia Germanica, vol. 42, no. 1 (2009), 49-66 Highfill, Philip et  al. (eds.), A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers, and other Stage Personnel, 16 vols. (USA: Southern Illinois UP, 1993) Holman, J. G., The Red-Cross Knights (London: Cawthorn, 1799b) Houswitschka, Christoph, ‘The Political Reception of German Drama in Great Britain in the period of the French Revolution’, in Anglo-German Theatrical Exchange, A Sea-Change into Something Rich and Strange?, eds. Rudolf Weiss, Ludwig Schnauder, and Dieter Fuchs (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 171–191 Irving, George, ‘Coleridge as Playwright’, in The Oxford Handbook of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ed. Frederick Burwick (Oxford: OUP, 2018), 2-11 Jackson, J. R. de J. (ed.), Coleridge: The Critical Heritage (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1970) Lewis, Matthew G., The Castle Spectre; A Drama in Five Acts (London: J Bell, 1798) Mathias, T. J., The Shade of Alexander Pope on the Bank of the Thames. A Satirical Poem (London: J. Milliken, 1799) Milburn, Douglas, ‘The Popular Reaction to German Drama in England at the end of the eighteenth century’, Rice University Studies, vol. 55, no. 3 (Summer 1969), 149-162 Moody, Jane, Illegitimate Theatre in London, 1770-1840 (Cambridge: CUP, 2000) Moore, John David, ‘Coleridge and the “modern Jacobinical Drama”: Osorio, Remorse, and the Development of Coleridge’s Critique of the Stage, 1797-1816’, Bulletin of Research in the Humanities, vol. 85 (1982), 443-464 Mortensen, Peter, ‘Robbing the Robbers: Schiller, Xenophobia and the Politics of British Romantic Translation, Literature and History, vol. 11, issue 1 (May 2002), 41-61 Mortensen, Peter, ‘The Robbers and the Police: British Romantic Drama and the Gothic Treacheries of Coleridge’s Remorse’, in European Gothic: A Spirited Exchange, 1760-1960, ed. Avril Horner (Manchester: Manchester UP, 2002), 128-143 Mortensen, Peter, British Romanticism and Continental Influences: Writing in an Age of Europhobia (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004)

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Murnane, Barry, ‘The German “School” of Horrors: A Pharmacology of the Gothic’, in The Cambridge History of the Gothic, Volume 1: Gothic in the Long Eighteenth Century, eds. Angela Wright and Dale Townshend (Cambridge: CUP, 2020), 364-381 Murray, Chris, Tragic Coleridge (London: Routledge, 2016) O’Quinn, Daniel, ‘Pizarro’s Spectacular Dialectics’, in Richard Brinsley Sheridan: The Impresario in Political and Cultural Context, eds. Jack E.  DeRochi and Daniel J. Ennis (Lewisburg: Bucknell UP, 2013), 159-195 Russell, Gillian, ‘Killing Mrs. Siddons: The Actress and the Adulteress in Late Georgian Britain’, Studies in Romanticism, vol. 51, no. 3 (2012), 419-448 Russell, Gillian, ‘Revolutionary Drama’, in The Cambridge Companion to British Literature of the French Revolution in the 1790s, ed. Pamela Clemit (Cambridge: CUP, 2011), 175-189 Saggini, Francesca, The Gothic Novel and the Stage: Romantic Appropriations (London: Routledge, 2016) Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, Pizarro: A Tragedy in Five Acts (1799), ed. with intro. by Selena Couture and Alexander Dick (Canada: Broadview Press, 2017) Stokoe, F. W., German Influence in the Romantic Period, 1788-1818 (Cambridge: CUP, 1926) Taylor, David, Theatres of Opposition: Empire, Revolution, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan (Oxford: OUP, 2012) Tytler, Watt (Alexander Fraser), The Robbers, second ed. (London: G.  G. and J. Robinson, 1795) Valladares, Susan, Staging the Peninsular War: English Theatres, 1807-1815 (London: Routledge, 2015) Watson, George, England Preserved: an historical play, in five acts, as performed at the Theatre-Royal, Covent-Garden (London: T.N. Longman, 1795)

CHAPTER 6

‘Yet Are Spain’s Maids No Race of Amazons’: Spain’s Female Warriors in Anglo-European Drama

In 1810, Robert Southey’s ‘The Siege of Zaragoza’ was printed in The Edinburgh Annual Review. The article is among Southey’s many literary commentaries on events occurring in Spain during the years 1808–1814, which saw the nation’s people rise to arms to defend themselves against Napoleon during the Peninsular War. The Iberian conflict marked a distinct turning point in Anglo-Hispanic relations: after centuries of hostility to one another, British support and subsequent intervention in the Peninsular campaign rendered the two nations unlikely allies.1 As Simon Bainbridge has shown, the war played a key role in enabling former British supporters of the French Revolution ‘to realign themselves with their countrymen, their government and “Liberty”, and so to close, at last, the schism that had been opened by the outbreak of the war in 1793’.2 Resurrecting the libertarian principles upon which the French Revolution was based in their quest to vanquish an oppressor, yet directing their 1  On British involvement in the Peninsular War see Charles Esdaile, The Peninsular War: A New History (London: Penguin, 2002); Gavin Daly, The British Soldier in the Peninsular War: Encounters with Spain and Portugal, 1808–1814 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013); Rory Muir, Britain and the Defeat of Napoleon, 1807–1815 (London: Yale UP, 1996), 21–125, 141–162, 262–279; and Philip J.  Haythornthwaite, The Napoleonic Source Book (Australia: Arms and Armour Press, 1995), 37–42. 2  Simon Bainbridge, Napoleon and English Romanticism (Cambridge: CUP, 1995), 97.

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023 S. Burdett, The Arms-Bearing Woman and British Theatre in the Age of Revolution, 1789-1815, Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-15474-4_6

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hostilities to the chief antagonist of southern Europe, whose power threatened Britain’s political and economic status quo, the efforts of the Spanish patriots could be championed right across the political spectrum. To quote Linda Pratt and Ian Packer, the Iberian campaign ‘offered a chance to replay the scenario of the 1790s’, but with an ending favourable to Whigs and Torys alike: ‘the defeat of Napoleon’.3 While the conflict was reminiscent of the 1790s in terms of what was being fought for, Southey’s article points towards additional parallels between who was doing the fighting. In his commendatory account of Spanish bravery, Southey writes: The women were eminently conspicuous in their exertions, regardless of the shot and shells which fell about them, and braving the flames. […] [W]hen circumstances, forcing them out of the sphere of their ordinary nature, compel them to exercise manly virtues, they display them in the highest degree, and, when they are once awakened to a sense of patriotism, they carry the principle to its most heroic pitch. The loss of women and boys, during the siege, was very great, fully proportionate to that of men; they were always the most forward.4

As the description makes clear, the women of Spain, like their forerunners in France, were prominent among the patriots who mobilised themselves for martial warfare against a political foe. Expedited in 1808 by events in Saragossa and Madrid, accounts of martialised Spanish maids who ‘zealously […] supported their countrymen’ in the defence against Napoleon flooded into Britain via journalistic accounts.5 An influential contributor to such accounts, Southey was privy to eye-witness reports of military proceedings brought to him by literary and political contacts witnessing the war unfold first-hand.6 His ‘Siege of 3  Ian Packer and Lynda Pratt, ‘Robert Southey and the Peninsular Campaign’, in Spain in British Romanticism, 1800–1840, eds. Diego Saglia and Ian Haywood (Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 42. 4  Robert Southey, ‘The Siege of Zaragoza’, in The Edinburgh Annual Review for 1810. Vol First – First Part (Edinburgh: John Ballantyne, 1810), 311. 5  The Annual Register … for the Year 1809 (London: W.  Otridge etc., 1811), 198. On British journalism pertaining to the Peninsular War see esp. Diego Saglia, Poetic Castles in Spain: British Romanticism and Figurations of Iberia (Atlanta: Rodopi, 2000); Saglia, ‘“O My Mother Spain!”: The Peninsular War, Family Matters, and the Practice of Romantic Nation-Writing’, ELH, vol. 65, no.  2 (Summer 1998), 363–393; and Susan Valladares, Staging the Peninsular War: English Theatres, 1807–1815 (London: Routledge, 2015). 6  On Southey’s contacts in Spain see Packer and Pratt, ‘Robert Southey’, 44.

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Zaragoza’ exemplifies emphatically the importance of the country’s women in resisting French invasion. Across the course of his narrative, Southey selects for special notice two figures whose names recur in British commentaries on the Iberian conflict. The first is the ‘young, delicate and beautiful’ Countess of Bureta, who, ‘in the midst of the most tremendous fire of shot and shells’, was ‘seen coolly attending to those occupations which were now become her duty’, never allowing ‘the imminent danger, to which she incessantly exposed herself’ to ‘produce the slightest apparent effect upon her, or in the slightest degree bend her from her heroic purpose’.7 Alongside the Countess, Southey pinpoints the Spanish heroine par excellence: Agustina de Aragon, subsequently nicknamed the Maid of Saragossa, to whom we will return later. Recalling her remarkable exertions in The Edinburgh Annual Review, Southey declares: Agustina Zaragoza, a handsome woman of the lower class, about 22 years of age, arrived at this battery with refreshments, at a […] moment [when] the citizens hesitated to reman the guns. Agustina sprang forward over the dead and dying, snatched a match from the hand of a dead artillery man, and fired off a six and twenty-pounder; then, jumping upon the gun, made a solemn vow never to quit it alive during the siege. Such a sight could not but animate with fresh courage all who beheld it.8

Described as ‘beautiful’, ‘heroic’, and ‘handsome’ women, dutifully assisting their country in its noble campaign, the martialised women depicted here by Southey differ greatly to the unsexed, inhuman and bloodthirsty French viragos that we find in accounts of the 1790s. Narratives of these militarised female patriots, and Agustina in particular, inspired authors including Lord Byron, Felicia Hemans, and Southey himself to pay homage in their poetry to the ‘Spanish maid[s]’ who ‘dared the deed of war’ when ‘thus in arms they emulate[d] [their] sons’.9 Events in the Peninsular might consequently be seen to catalyse a nascent shift in the armed woman’s reputation in Britain. A striking evocation in the 1790s of  Southey, ‘Siege of Zaragoza’, 311.  Ibid., 311.On both the Countess of Bureta and Agustina de Aragon see Charles Esdaile, Women in the Peninsular War (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014); 94–104. 9  Lord George Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: Canto 1 (1812), in Lord Byron: The Major Works, ed. Jerome J. McGann (Oxford: OUP, 2008), 40, 41. See also Felicia Hemans, The Siege of Valencia (1823) and ‘Woman on the Battlefield’ (1830); and Robert Southey, Roderick; or, The Last of the Goths (1814). 7 8

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revolutionary disorder and chaos, the arms-bearing woman acquires a contrary affiliation in the 1810s with Francophobic and anti-Napoleonic sentiment.10 Productive in France of the monstrosities committed by her male compatriots, the martial maid of Spain serves to ‘animate with fresh courage’ the manly exertions needed to prevent the culmination of such monstrosities from dominating Europe. As such, the female warrior metamorphosises in the British imagination from foreign enemy of national peace, to British ally in the securement of such peace. It would be erroneous, however, to paint a picture of Spain’s female warriors as figures welcomed with open arms into British consciousness. Quite contrarily, the character carried with her a set of unsettling complexities that had to be carefully negotiated. First, as we saw in relation to Charlotte Corday, the female warrior, even when fighting a perceptibly noble cause, continued to disturb the gendered division of labour and the gendered division of spheres.11 Moreover, and of specific relevance to the Iberian campaign, Spain’s armed female patriots were not the homogenous breed that the examples lifted from Southey’s ‘Siege of Zaragoza’ tend to imply. Joining the beautiful and heroic Countess of Bureta and Agustina de Aragon, Spanish amazons not entirely dissimilar to France’s female furies can also be located in British accounts of the conflict. Charles Esdaile observes that while Britain abounds in the 1810s with celebratory accounts of Spanish military heroines like the maid of Saragossa, whose actions are ‘very much in keeping with the norms of warfare in the horse-and-musket period’, examples exist of a less laudable sub-category of Spanish amazon associated with ‘what might be imagined to be the most quintessentially Iberian aspect of the Peninsular War, namely the so-called guerrilla’.12 Spain’s guerrilla armies consisted of self-­ appointed male and female soldiers, located commonly in the country’s 10  On women’s martial involvement in the conflict see Esdaile, Women in the Peninsular War, 94–133; Saglia, Poetic Castles, 191–203; Saglia, ‘“O My Mother Spain!”, 363–393; and Begoña Lasa Álvarez, ‘The Maid of Saragossa, a Spanish Woman Warrior in AngloAmerican Catalogues of Celebrated Women’, Journal of War & Culture Studies, vol.  13, issue 3 (2020), 279–297. 11  See Saglia, ‘“O My Mother Spain!”, 363–393; and Alvarez, ‘The Maid of Saragossa’, 279–297. On Corday’s reception in Britain see Chap. 4. 12  Esdaile, Women in the Peninsular War, 112.

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mountainous regions.13 Given their unconventional modes of warfare, these irregular armies were ambivalently received in Britain. On the one hand, their relentless exertions were considered crucial to the progress of the Peninsular campaign. In his poems inspired by the self-sufficiency and resilience shown by the guerrillas, William Wordsworth commends the irregular troops, who ‘from bleak hill-top’ are ‘to daily battle led’, for an admirable degree of courage and perseverance reminiscent of ‘hardy Rome’.14 While undeniably impactful in their combat, however, the guerrillas unruly and undisciplined methods of resistance, consisting of impromptu ambushes, kidnaps, and assassinations, often considered excessive and superfluous, cloaked them with moral questionability. As such, argues Esdaile, the bands’ female activists were often aligned less so with the patriotic heroism of the dignified Agustina, than they were the lawlessness of rural criminals.15 For an account of this latter sub-category of Spanish woman we can again turn to Southey, and his History of the Peninsular War (1826–1832). Though acknowledging, like Wordsworth, the vital role played by the guerrillas in aiding their nation’s campaign, Southey does not shy away from accusing the guerrillas of depravity. He writes that ‘some were mere ruffians’, filled with ‘burning hatred, seeking revenge for the most wanton and most poignant injuries that can be inflicted upon humanity’.16 Selecting for especial condemnation a female guerrilla band leader, he writes that when ‘a gang of forty ruffians, with a woman by name Martina for their leader, infested Biscay and Alava’, they ‘committed so many 13  On the guerrillas see Charles Esdaile, Fighting Napoleon: Guerrillas, Bandits and Adventurers in Spain, 1808–1814 (Bury St Edmunds: Yale UP, 2004); Esdaile, The Peninsular War, 250–280; Esdaile, Women in the Peninsular War, 113–122; David G.  Chandler, Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars (New York: Wordsworth Editions, 1999), 187–188; Owen Connolly, The Wars of the French Revolution and Napoleon, 1792–1815 (London: Routledge, 2006),142–154; René Chartrand, Spanish Guerrillas in the Peninsular War, 1808–14 (East Sussex: Osprey Publishing, 2004); Allan Forrest, Napoleon’s Men, The Soldiers of the Revolution and Empire (London: Hambledon Continuum, 2002), 13; and Gavin Daly, ‘Barbarity more suited to Savages’: British soldiers’ views of Spanish and Portuguese violence during the Peninsular War, 1808–1814′, War and Society, vol. 35, issue 4 (2006), 242–258. 14  William Wordsworth, ‘The French and the Spanish Guerrillas’; Wordsworth, ‘Spanish Guerrillas, 1811’, both in The Collected Poems of William Wordsworth, ed. and intro. Antonia Hill (Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Poetry Library, 1994), 382. 15  See Esdaile, Women in the Peninsular War, 113–4. 16  Robert Southey, History of the Peninsular War, in Three volumes (London: John Murray, 1832), III.43.

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­ urders’ that ‘the cry of the land went forth against’ them, and was m directed with particular fervency at the ‘execrable mistress at their head’.17 Lacking the dutiful commitment to their country exemplified by the Countess of Bureta and Agustina, Southey shows guerrilla maids like Martina to be roused to violence not by patriotic ardour, but by ‘burning hatred’ and an ‘execrable’ lust for blood. These differing categories of Iberian amazon provide useful templates for interpreting armed heroines depicted on London’s patent stages in 1813 and 1815 respectively. Assessing the role played by the Peninsular War in reframing the armed woman’s representation and reception in the British theatre, this chapter begins with a return to Coleridge’s Remorse and concludes with an analysis of the critically neglected melodrama Charles the Bold; or, the Siege of Nantz (DL; 1815), produced by Samuel Arnold. Spotlighting the Spanish setting of Coleridge’s Remorse, the reading I offer in this chapter looks not to overwrite the conclusion reached in the former, by usurping one Anglo-European context with another: rather, building on my prior assessment, my analysis blends Anglo-German and AngloHispanic perspectives on Coleridge’s tragedy in order to nuance the findings borne from each.18 It does so by outlining the seamlessness with which a Spanish assassin, modelled on Schiller’s outlaw par-­excellence, can metamorphosise into a valued, yet lawless guerrilla maid, when interpreted on stage a year prior to the close of the Peninsular campaign. Turning from Coleridge’s German-inspired tragedy to a military melodrama imported from France, I propose the possibility of interpreting Charles the Bold as an allegory of the siege of Saragossa, in which the play’s heroine, Leontina, fulfils the role of the revered Agustina de Aragon. I make the case that the remarkable martial agency conducted by Leontina is not an isolated instance on the contemporary London stage, but signals a recurring trend within melodramas of the 1810s, which arrive at their spectacular climax following a woman’s use of firearms. While providing on the one hand visual allusions to political and social events occurring abroad and at home, I suggest the simultaneous capacity of these nascent and unsurpassably destructive military heroines to amplify the melodrama’s production of a psychological experience which resonates potently with an audience having lived through a prolonged and intense period of revolutionary trauma.  Southey, History, III:65.  On Anglo-German readings of Remorse see the previous chapter.

17 18

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‘The Oppressed Brethren of thy Blood Have Need of Such a Leader’: Coleridge’s Dramatic Intervention in the Anglo-Hispanic Debate In Act 2 scene 2 of Remorse, Coleridge presents a dialogue between Alhadra and Alvar that had not been present in Osorio. In this newly added exchange, Alhadra informs Alvar that ‘The oppressed brethren of thy blood have need of such a leader’.19 Gabriel Sealy-Morris has argued that Alhadra’s flattery of Alvar at this point ‘carries a racist undercurrent hard to avoid’, as the claim carries the implication that ‘what the Moors need is a white leader’.20 At a surface level, this conversation indeed conforms to the white saviour narrative: the dark skinned Moors need guidance from the white skinned Spaniard to overcome their oppression. By 1813, however, at a time when the Spanish nation is being depicted in Britain as a country whose salvation is dependent on British intervention, it becomes possible, figuratively, to interpret this dialogue not as a criticism of Alhadra’s skin colour, but of her embodiment of Spanish intractability: a trait which must be governed by British restraint and discipline, allegorised by Alvar, if Spain is to be magnanimously victorious in the Peninsular War. The significance of Remorse’s Spanish setting has been the topic of fruitful analyses in recent Coleridge scholarship.21 While Spain served in 1797 as an appropriately gothic setting for Coleridge’s Osorio, given the dramatic vogue for geographical displacements of French revolutionary commentaries to Catholic Spain or Italy, by 1813, British investment in the Peninsular War meant that Spain held a radically revised significance in

19  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Remorse, A Tragedy in Five Acts, in The Complete Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol II: Dramatic Works and Appendices, ed. Ernest Hartley Coleridge (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957), II.ii.841. 20  Gabriel Sealey-Morris, ‘Coleridge’s Moors: Osorio, Remorse, and the Swarthy Shadow of Othello’, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, vol. 35, issue 3 (2015), 304. 21  See esp. Carl Woodring, Politics in the Poetry of Coleridge (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1961), 199–211; Susan Valladares, ‘“He that can bring the dead to life again”: Resurrecting the Spanish Setting of Coleridge’s Osorio (1797) and Remorse (1813)’, in Romanticism and the Anglo-Hispanic Imaginary, ed. Joselyn M.  Almeida (New York: Rodopi, 2010), 133–155; Diego Saglia, ‘Spanish Stages: British Romantic Tragedy and the Theatrical Politics of Spain, 1808–1823′, European Romantic Review, vol.  19 (2008), 19–32; and Saglia Poetic Castles, 201–202, 280–281.

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the minds of the British public.22 British interest in Iberia was such that the Spanish cause occupied a large space in the public imagination and paraphernalia pertaining to Spain was in high demand.23 This new alliance and fascination with Spain served not only to enhance the commercial value of Remorse, as indicated overtly in an account of the play printed in The British Review, but it opened up concurrent possibilities for the play’s communication of a new set of ideological overtones.24 As Diego Saglia, building on Carl Woodring, proposes: If the Spanish setting undeniably gave topical relevance to Coleridge’s play, it also enabled him to recycle the political contents of a text deeply imbued with his own youthful Jacobinism and sharing dangerous similarities with Schiller’s The Robbers. The language of opposition to tyranny which in 1797 generically hinted at subversive Jacobinism might, in 1813, be safely reinterpreted as a reference to the Peninsular situation. By this interpretative twist, the persecuted Muslims could be seen as modern Spanish freedom fighters, whereas the reign of Philip II corresponded to Napoleon’s tyranny.25

Into this revised allegorical reading of the play, the militarised Alhadra fits seamlessly. With images of armed Iberian women circulating pervasively in British responses to the Peninsular War, the image of Coleridge’s Spanish woman sinking a sword into the oppressor of her people can be readily interpreted in 1813 as an emblem of Spain’s female patriots exerting themselves militantly in the defence of their country.26 This suggestion, however, that Alhadra’s identity shifts across the period 1797 to 1813 from Jacobinical British enemy, to celebrated ally in Britain’s defeat of Napoleon, is wrought with complexities. As we saw in the previous chapter, the aggressive Alhadra is inauspiciously differentiated from the tragedy’s pacifistic hero, Alvar, and her murder of Ordonio 22  On the Spanish setting of Osorio see Daniel P. Watkins ‘“In that New World”: The Deep Historical Structure of Coleridge’s Osorio’, Philological Quarterly, vol. 69, issue 4 (Fall 1990): 495–515; and George Irving, ‘Coleridge as Playwright’, in The Oxford Handbook of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ed. Frederick Burwick (Oxford: OUP, 2018), 5. 23  See Saglia, Poetic Castles, 201; and Valladares, Staging, 13. 24  See review of Remorse printed in The British Review (May 1813), reproduced in J. R de J.  Jackson (ed.), Coleridge: The Critical Heritage (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1970), 166–174. 25  Saglia, Poetic Castles, 201. On Woodring’s earlier reading see Politics in the Poetry of Coleridge, 199–211. 26  See Saglia, Poetic Castles, 202.

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is castigated at the close of the play.27 As such, Alhadra is palpably distinguished from British depictions of Spain’s contemporaneously heroic Spanish amazons, such as Southey’s Adosinda in Roderick or the Last of the Goths (1814), whose warfare, like that of Agustina de Aragon’s, is celebrated for ‘rous[ing] [her] prostrate country from her mortal trance’.28 While Adosinda’s example teaches her male compatriots of the necessity for active warfare, Alhadra’s violence, contrarily, is shown to diverge unequivocally from the correct course of action advocated by her male foil. I will argue in the analysis that follows that while Alhadra’s lust for blood equates her on the one hand with Jacobin violence, as we saw in the former chapter, her over-zealous desire for vengeance might fashion her at the same time in the image of Spain’s unruly guerrilla, whose hasty violence in the Iberian campaign conflicted with the strategic and rational methods endorsed by the British infantry: the values of which materialise in Alvar. This reading of Alhadra does not clash with, but is facilitated by the tragedy’s ‘dangerous similarities with Schiller’s The Robbers’, explored in the previous chapter. Modelled on the lawless and vengeful Karl Moor, and inviting, as we have seen, both censure and praise from her reviewers, the Janus-faced Alhadra falls neatly into the sub-category of the morally dubious Iberian heroine outlined by Esdaile, as her violent exertions blur the boundary between patriotic heroism and Robbers-esque criminality. Like his fellow Laker Southey, Coleridge was an avid supporter of the Spanish cause. His espousal of the campaign is testified in the series of Letters on the Spaniards that he wrote for the Courier between 1809–10, which sought to reignite British support for the Iberian cause at a time when initial enthusiasm was waning.29 Defeats at Corunna and reports of Spain’s military cowardice and uncooperativeness at the battle of Talavera had tainted the prior image of the Spaniards as a heroic people and had provoked charges of inertia and lethargy among their regular troops.30 Reverberations of these criticisms can be identified in Southey’s Roderick, in which Adosinda, whose ‘hands were bloody and her garments stain’d  See Chap. 5 of this study.  Robert Southey, Roderick; or, the Last of the Goths, in Poems of Robert Southey, ed. Maurice H. Fitzgerald (London: OUP, 1909), 227. 29  On Coleridge’s Letters see Diego Saglia, ‘War Romances, Historical Analogies and Coleridge’s Letters on the Spaniards’, in Romantic Wars: Studies in Culture and Conflict, 1793–1822, ed. Philip Shaw (London: Routledge, 2000), 138–160. 30  See Esdaile, The Peninsular War, 140–163, 192–221; Simon Bainbridge, Napoleon, 79–78; and Daly, The British Soldier, 104–108. 27 28

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with blood’, shames Pelayo into a recognition of the lack of martial valour exercised by the country’s menfolk, for which their female compatriots are wrongly having to compensate.31 While Southey’s martial maid serves to foreground accusations of dormancy amongst Spanish troops, Coleridge’s Spanish amazon seems to embody an antithetical national flaw. In the final instalment of his Letters on the Spaniards, Coleridge reacts to his contemporaries’ conclusion that the ‘general torpor and indifference’ witnessed among Spain’s armies is accountable for the nation’s military failings, with the protestation: This solution might perhaps have been endured a year ago by those at least who can comprehend no energy that does not manifest itself in bustle and riot. But surely, all the late events prove a tendency to the opposite fault, a rashness and undisciplined eagerness tempting them from their only proper mode of warfare. […] The imprudent rashness, which I am blaming in this heroic people, implies the falsehood of the former charge.32

In shifting the accusations directed against the Spanish from inertia and lethargy to ‘impudent rashness and undisciplined eagerness’, Coleridge gestures towards a perceived fault for which Spain’s guerrilla armies had become chiefly and progressively culpable. As Southey recalls in his History, the guerrillas’ ‘increase in numbers and activity’ following the decline of the regular army’s ‘reputation and […] strength’ led to a surge of ‘dreadful warfare’ in Spain in which ‘blood called for blood; cruelty produced retaliation, and retaliation was retaliated by fresh cruelties’.33 This escalation of erratic and gratuitous guerrilla violence resulted in an amplified clash of Spanish military proceedings with the respectable codes of British warfare. As Coleridge notes elsewhere in the Courier, the Spaniards’ disorderly conduct was antithetical to the ‘steadiness and 31  Southey, Roderick, 224. Adosinda’s actions cause Pelayo to declare: ‘never be it said of Spain, that in the hour of her distress, her women were as heroes, but her men performed the women’s part.’ For detailed analyses of Roderick and other poetic depictions of Spanish amazons see Simon Bainbridge, British Poetry and the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars: Visions of Conflict (Oxford: OUP, 2003), 32–35, 190–224; and Saglia, ‘“O My Mother Spain!”, 363–393. 32  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ‘Letter VIII’ of Letters on the Spaniards, printed in The Courier (20 January 1810), reproduced in The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Essays on his Times in The Morning Post and The Courier, II, in 3 vols, ed. David V. Erdman (London: Princeton UP, 1978), III:92, 93. 33  Southey, History, III:48, 43.

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unremitted presence of mind’ and the capacity to act with ‘patience and far-­sighted self-control’ that was practised by Wellington and his army, in whom Coleridge places his hopes for victory in Iberia.34 Coleridge’s journalism pertaining to the Spanish cause provides a fertile lens through which to nuance existing Anglo-Hispanic readings of Remorse. Coleridge’s referral to the Spanish patriots in the final instalment of his Letters as both ‘heroic’ and ‘undisciplined’ mirrors Alhadra’s perception by her fellow characters, and theatrical reviewers alike, as both a ‘Nobly-minded woman’, and one whose murderous intentions are ‘too horrible to hear’.35 Matching the guerrillas’ noble devotion to the expulsion of evil, and ignoble execution of their task, Alhadra’s conduct, signifying a specifically feminine model of Spanish irrationality, is shown to fall short of the magnanimity practiced by Alvar, who serves as a pointedly masculine model of British restraint. ‘Assassination Is So Abhorrent’: Guerrilla Warfare and Anglophilia in Remorse Writing in the aftermath of the Peninsular War, Coleridge pointed towards ‘the late guerrilla warfare’ as evidence that ‘The Spanish character’ cannot be ‘acquit[ted] of cruelty’.36 The perception of Spain’s guerrilla armies as gratuitously cruel played a key role throughout the 1810s in upholding the old stereotype of Spain as a barbarous and degenerate people. While British support for the Peninsular War went a long way towards expelling the tendency in Britain to associate Spain with the horrors of the Black Legend, the shift in British attitudes towards their former national foe was by no means a straightforward reversal from hostile to congenial.37 Rather, as Gavin Daly demonstrates, ‘British ideas and images of Spain’ become 34  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ‘Lord Wellington like the Sun’, in The Courier (22 May 1811), in The Collected Works … II, ed. Erdman, III:157. 35  Coleridge, Remorse, II.ii.141; I.ii.830. See the contrasting accounts of Alhadra printed in The British Review and The Times quoted in the previous chapter. 36  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ‘Lecture XI: Asiatic and Greek Mythologies, Robinson Crusoe, Use of Works of Imagination in Education’, in The Literary Remains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ed. and collected by Henry Nelson Coleridge (London: Lincolns Inn, 1836), 193. 37  On the Black Legend and British attitudes to Spain pre-Peninsular War see Diego Saglia and Ian Haywood, ‘Introduction: Spain and British Romanticism’, in Spain in British Romanticism, eds. Saglia and Haywood, 1–18.

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‘multidimensional and evolving’ during the years of the conflict, ‘with old and recent traditions’ existing side by side’.38 As Catriona Kennedy outlines, in keeping alive the old stereotype of the Black Legend, the ‘brutal tactics employed by the guerrillas’ were salient, as they supported the long-held understanding ‘that the peoples of the Peninsular were characterised by a savagery and barbarity’ rendering them morally inferior to civilised Europeans.39 A recurring claim made by antagonists of the guerrilla’s anarchic military tactics was that those who joined the irregular armies exploited the guise of patriotism to vindicate lawless and bloodthirsty inclinations.40 Exposing the guerrilla’s paradoxical embodiment of patriotism and delinquency, Southey writes of the irregular armies that ‘vengeance was taken by a most vindictive people’, attracted ‘by the wildness and continual excitement attendant upon a life of outlawry’, to which, ‘in the present circumstances, […] honour, instead of obloquy, was attached.’41 The guerrillas, continues Southey, considered ‘the treacherous commencement of the war on the part of the French’ to discharge their bands ‘from all observances of good faith or humanity towards them’, and thereby felt warranted in abandoning themselves ‘to the impulses of their own evil hearts’ under the alleged name of justice.42 Arguing that in Spain, ‘the severity of the revenue laws opened for bold and mutinous spirits the least injurious channel in which they could be employed’, Southey presents the invasion of the French as a fortuitous justification for ‘wild and lawless’ conduct, which, in any other context, would be outrightly censurable.43 This depiction of the guerrillas as ‘wild and lawless’ bands, who took justice into their own hands by performing ignoble acts of bloodthirsty vengeance, is strikingly evocative of Schiller’s murderous crew of robbers. Like the guerrillas, Karl Moor and his followers similarly profess to ‘make the world a fairer place through terror’ and to ‘uphold the cause of justice

 Daly, The British Soldier, 35.  Catriona Kennedy, Narratives of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars: Military and Civilian Experience in Britain and Ireland (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 102. 40  For ample examples see Esdaile, Fighting Napoleon, 1–26; and Esdaile, Peninsular Eyewitnesses: The Experience of War in Spain and Portugal, 1808–1813 (Barnsley: Pen and Sword Books, 2008). 41  Southey, History, III.42, 43. 42  Ibid., III:48. 43  Southey, ‘Siege of Zaragoza’, 554. 38 39

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through lawlessness’.44 Such ‘mutinous spirits’, as we saw in the preceding chapter, provide the model for Coleridge’s Moresco woman, Alhadra. If associated on the one hand with Jacobinical reprise, Coleridge’s Spanish heroine, adorned with the rebellious traits of the archetypal German protagonist, becomes a ready allegorical embodiment in 1813 of the unruly Spanish guerrilla. Alhadra’s characterisation offers notable affinities with descriptions of the guerrillas offered in eye-witness and journalistic accounts by British soldiers and military personnel. Like Spain’s ‘mountain warriors’, who hunt the enemy ‘in the woods and wilds’, the ‘rugged country being most favourable to their mode of warfare’,45 Alhadra lurks among the ‘vine-clad rock’, stalking her prey across the ‘rugged precipice’ and rousing her troops in ‘the mountains by moonlight’.46 Resembling a ‘tiger’ who finds the thought of murder ‘most sweet’,47 Alhadra moreover matches descriptions of the guerrillas as ‘beasts […] of prey’ who ‘seemed pleased’ with the effects of their savagery.48 Encouraging her troops to swear an oath to a non-Christian God that their swords will become ‘wet with the life blood’ of the enemy,49 Alhadra implies her commitment ‘to that war “to the knife” that had become religious fervour’ in the heart of the guerrilla.50 She is shown additionally to foster the ‘deep laid sense of hatred and vengeance’ and ‘thirst for blood’ nurtured by the guerrillas, who embrace ‘the most unbridled indignation’ and give way to ‘the most licentious expression of it’,51 when, becoming ‘so maddened’ by her wrongdoer, Alhadra pledges to punish him in ways ‘too horrible to hear’.52 Unable to heed Alvar’s pacifistic advice as her ‘brain grew hot as fire’,53 Alhadra 44  Friedrich Schiller, The Robbers (1781), trans. and intro. F. J. Lamport (London: Penguin, 1979), V.ii.159. 45  Sir Richard Henegan, Seven Years Campaigning in the Peninsula and the Netherlands, 1808–1815 (1846), 2 vols (Gloucestershire: Nonsuch Publishing, 2005), I:94; Southey, History, III:56, 62. 46  Coleridge, Remorse, II.i.835; I.ii.829; IV.iii.868. 47  Ibid, I.ii.829. 48  C. Hibberd ed., A Soldier of the Seventy-First: The Journal of a Soldier in the Peninsular War (London: Cooper, 1975), 18. 49  Coleridge, Remorse, IV.iii.869. 50  Henegan, Seven Years, 98. 51  Ibid., 94, 103; Lady Jackson ed., The Diaries and Letters of Sir George Jackson, KCH, from the Peace of Amies to the battle of Talvera (London: Bentley, 1872), II:324. 52  Coleridge, Remorse, I.ii.829. 53  Ibid., IV.III.870.

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replicates furthermore ‘the excitement of inflamed passions’ exhibited by the guerrillas, which causes ‘all discipline’ to dissolve into ‘savage barbarity’.54 If Alhadra embodies the ‘rashness and undisciplined eagerness’ characterising the Spanish guerrilla, then Alvar symbolises the ‘steadiness and unremitted presence of mind’ located by Coleridge in Wellington and his British infantry.55 As scholars including Philip Shaw have shown, Coleridge’s depiction of Wellington in the Courier is harmonious with popular representations of the Duke as a ‘man celebrated for his modesty and restraint’, and his ‘pragmatic approach to the attainment of ends.’ Though Wellington held ‘equal proficiency in the field’, his warfare, explains Shaw, ‘was played down’ in British encomiums ‘in order to emphasise his gentlemanly qualities’.56 Epitomising this mode of representation, in A Panegyric in Honour of the Duke of Wellington, printed to mark Wellington’s death in 1854, Walter B. May shows ‘Divine Providence’ to have ascribed to Wellington a duty transcending the mortal and fleeting business of warfare. Painting the Duke as superior to the ‘impetuous Cyrus, the mighty Caesar and the conquering Macedonian’, defined as warriors with nothing to show for themselves beyond their transient heroics in the field, May lauds Wellington as the ‘conservator of peace’, who, unwavering in his obedience to the ‘Noble Commander’, ‘studiously laboured with mature reflection and clear judgment’ to ‘permanently secure the tranquillity of the world upon a solid, just and satisfactory foundation’.57 At a time when the Spanish uprising was prevalently viewed as a war in defence of religion, with Wellington at its helm, the pious, pacifistic, and rational Alvar, arriving in Spain from overseas to expel indelibly the villainy of a despotic tyrant, welcomes recognition in the theatre as an allusive figuration of the Duke of Wellington, intent on securing ongoing tranquillity in Iberia.58 Exercising his reason, Alvar arrives in Spain with ‘fix’d resolve’ on a strategic model fit for use in the long-term battle 54  Henegan, Seven Years, 103, 98. For further examples of similar objections made by British soldiers to the conduct of the Spanish guerrillas see Esdaile, Peninsular Eyewitnesses. 55  Coleridge, Letter VIII, III:92; Coleridge, ‘Wellington’, III:157. 56  Philip Shaw, Waterloo and the Romantic Imagination (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), 2. 57  Walter B. May, A Panegyric in Honour of the Duke of Wellington (Taunton: Frederick May, 1854), 5, 8. 58  On the Peninsular War as religious battle see Bainbridge, Napoleon and English Romanticism, 95–133.

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‘against oppression’, which is congruent with the dictates of ‘Just Heaven’.59 While Coleridge’s protagonist anticipates through such conduct the mode of rational deportment for which Wellington would become revered, his failure to succeed in extinguishing Alhadra’s unreasoned and impious plan hastily to cast ‘a scathing curse’ on the enemy uniting their cause, replicates—by extension—the inability of Wellington’s infantry to govern the vehement actions of their irregular Spanish allies.60 Though it is Alhadra’s divergence from Alvar’s instruction which brings about the eventual fall of the tyrant, the fall cannot be celebrated on account of the manner in which it is achieved. Countering the joy that should result from the defeat of vice, Alvar responds to the concluding expulsion of evil by expressing his inability to partake in ‘Delights so full’ as the situation ought to have allowed.61 This subdued response to the punishment of villainy mimics the ambivalent feelings of gratitude and ill-will felt towards the guerrillas by British supporters of the Iberian campaign. In his reflections of 1826 Southey keenly states that despite the guerrillas’ immeasurable military input, they certainly cannot be espoused in Britain as aspirational examples of estimable war heroes, as their ‘wild and lawless’ behaviour flies in the face of the ‘restraint, the subordination’ and ‘the principle of obedience which the soldier is compelled to learn’.62 This distinction between volatile and ungoverned guerrilla activity and noble and organised British warfare was anticipated by Coleridge in an article written for the Courier in 1811. Commenting on the Spanish patriots, Coleridge exclaims: This free people are fighting against the greatest tyranny that ever scourged mankind […]. We are fighting against a tyrant who has threatened to make our country a land unfit to live in […]. Assassination is so abhorrent to the nature of an Englishman […]. But if after having long vexed the earth it should be the fate of this man to fall under the assassin’s dagger, we cannot say that we should be surprised, we are sure we would not be shocked. When Marat expired under the poniard of Charlotte Corday, did we hear in this country a single lamentation?’63  Coleridge, Remorse, I.i.822.  Ibid., I.ii.829. 61  Ibid., V.i.881. 62  Southey, History, III:68. 63  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ‘Bonaparte VII’, in Courier (27 June 1811), in The Collected Works … II, III:198–199. 59 60

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Paralleling the tyranny of Napoleon with that previously exerted by Marat, Coleridge alludes to the possibility of the former similarly losing his life at the hand of an assassin, as opposed to a soldierly force. This of course was not improbable, given the growing levels of guerrilla activity. Inferring England’s moral superiority over its European neighbours, Coleridge aligns the practice of assassination with the Spanish and the French: while events in these nations, present and past, demonstrate the willingness of each to stoop to this ignoble mode of attack, the practice of assassination, he assures his readers, is ‘abhorrent to the nature of an Englishman’. Thereby, if Napoleon, like Marat, was to ‘fall under the assassin’s dagger’, it would be a hollow victory for southern Europe. The underhand murder of a ‘tyrant who has threatened to make our country a land unfit to live in’ may not arouse lamentation in Britain, but nor will it warrant national celebration of the type that follows the formalised victory of an army on the battlefield. Remorse consequently enforces the Anglophilic consensus, summarised by Southey, that the Spanish must ‘follow the example and catch the spirit of their better disciplined allies’ if events in Spain are to be revered in Britain.64 Assassination is not an inconceivable method of vanquishing Napoleon; but if the tyrant is to be defeated in a style becoming of British soldierly prudence and magnanimity, then Britain’s ‘Oppressed Brethren’ indeed ‘have need of such a [British] leader’.65 ‘My Eye-Balls Burnt’: Spanishness and Gender in Remorse Alongside the Anglophilia detectable in this passage from the Courier, a second bias is readily apparent. Coleridge’s choice of Charlotte Corday as his exemplary assassin, and his use of the term ‘Englishman’, creates not only a national distinction between noble and ignoble warfare, but a gendered one too: assassination is aligned both with the foreign, and with the feminine. That this same alignment was present in Remorse is something that Coleridge was apparently adamant to ensure. In a letter from Coleridge to John Rickman sent following the debut performance of Remorse at Drury Lane, Coleridge expressed his animadversion against an error that had occurred in the initial production. He writes, 64  Robert Southey, ‘Chapter 30’, in The Edinburgh Annual Review for 1810. Vol Second – First Part (Edinburgh: John Ballantyne, 1810), 718. 65  Coleridge, Remorse, II.ii.841.

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By the bye, that most beastly Assassination of Ordonio by the Moor, […] was so far from being a deed of mine, that I saw it perpetrated for the first time on Saturday Night. I absolutely had the Hiss half-way out of my Lips & retracted it. […] It is now altered, or rather reformed to my original purpose.66

Coleridge’s protestation alludes to a mistake made in the opening production of Remorse which saw Ordonio stabbed to death not by Alhadra, but by her accompanying male Moor, Naomi. The scene had been acted this way due to an error in transcription of the manuscript copy of Remorse, in which it is indeed Naomi whose name is given as Ordonio’s assassin.67 Coleridge was unaware that the scene had been acted this way in rehearsals, as ‘the bowel-griping Cold from the Stage Floor’ had ‘always sent [him] packing homeward, before the conclusion of the Fourth’ act.68 Determined that the scene be restored to his ‘original purpose’, Coleridge altered the script immediately, granting the role of murderess back to Alhadra. The error recalled in Coleridge’s letter interferes scarcely with the drama’s surface narrative: as in Coleridge’s ‘original purpose’, Ordonio still loses his life at the hands of the oppressed Moors in the play’s closing scene. The restoration of Alhadra as the agent of Ordonio’s ‘beastly assassination’, however, interferes significantly with the play’s gendered undertones. In the allegorical reading proposed, Alhadra’s misguided actions exemplify not only the impudence of the guerrilla, but the excessive passion of the woman. Alhadra’s characterisation aligns her overtly with early nineteenth-­century stereotypes of Spanish femininity, which, as Saglia has shown, emphasise ‘extreme physical nature, passion, and exaggerated reactions’ as chief characteristics of Hispanic women.69 Following her husband’s death, Alhadra acts on a hysterical impulse which animates her physically. Deprived of reason upon finding Isidore’s body, Alhadra tells how, ‘first I shrieked/my eye-balls burnt’ and ‘all the hanging drops of the 66  Letter from Coleridge to John Rickman, 25 January 1813, in The Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Electronic Edition, 6 vols (Virginia: InteLex Corporation, 2002), III.428. 67  See Coleridge, Remorse. A Tragedy. MS Copy. 4 Jan. 1813. John Larpent Plays. The Huntington Library. LA1753. V.i.62. 68  Coleridge to Rickman, in The Collected Letters, III.428. 69  Saglia, ‘“O My Mother Spain!”’, 374. On these stereotypes see also ‘Character of the Spanish Ladies’ in La Belle Assemblee (June 1809), 186–190.

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wet roof turned to blood—I saw them turn to blood!’ In this frenzied passion, she is thrust unthinkingly into a series of frantic and rapid actions: having ‘leaped wildly down the chasm’, she ‘rushes off’ and ‘suddenly stabs Ordonio’.70 Alhadra’s conduct here, as Julie Carlson observes, is not out of tune with the gender-dynamics observable in Coleridge’s accompanying dramas of the 1810s, in which the ‘initial moralised opposition between troublesome women who acted and virtuous women who existed increasingly gave way to an opposition that linked hyperactive men like Ordonio […] to all women and distinguished them from exemplary men who waited.’71 If the antithesis between the hyperactive Alhadra and the rational and patient Alvar thus represents on the one hand a Spanish/British, guerrilla/infantry binary, it fits concurrently into the female/male binary detectable in Coleridge’s later plays. Interpreted this way, Remorse is freighted with a doubly nationalistic and chauvinistic meaning: in the securement of martial victory reconcilable with righteous heroism, a markedly masculine model of Britishness must acquire governance over a characteristically feminine form of Spanish rashness and audacity.

‘Blown to Pieces by the Delicate Hand’: Charles the Bold, the Peninsular War and Early British Melodrama Two years after the staging of Remorse, on 15 June 1815, the play Charles the Bold; or, the Siege of Nantz debuted at Drury Lane.72 Adapted by the actor James Wallack from Rene Guilbert de Pixérécourt’s French source text Charles Le Téméraire, ou, Le Siege de Nancy (1814), and produced by former manager of the Lyceum Theatre, Samuel Arnold, the play was reviewed ambivalently in The Times as ‘a very agreeable specimen of that

 Coleridge, Remorse, IV.iii.870.  Julie Carlson, ‘Gender’, in Cambridge Companion to Coleridge, ed. Lucy Newlyn (Cambridge: CUP, 2006), 209. 72  Limited critical attention has been received by this adaptation. Recent notice has been drawn to it by Susan Valladares, in her essay ‘“All the World’s a Stage and All the Men Are Merely Players”: Theatre-Going in London During the Hundred Days’, in Napoleon’s Hundred Days and the Politics of Legitimacy: War, Culture and Society, 1750–1850. eds. Katherine Astbury and Mark Philp (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), 185–208. Though the production is discussed only briefly in the essay, I am grateful to Valladares for sharing with me her wider thoughts on the play’s cultural resonances. 70 71

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monstrous tribe called melo-drame’.73 The equivocal praise bestowed on the work by the journalist spotlights the affinity in reception between the German Sturm and Drang and the French-derived melodrama in the early 1800s. Not only did melodrama share the German drama’s illegitimacy, hybridising comic and tragic elements, but it shared concurrently its status as a foreign importation: most pointedly, in this case, an importation from France. On the one hand, the melodrama served as a bastion of political and social morality: emerging in France as a conservative reaction to the experience of revolutionary horrors, the genre foregrounded the ultimate defeat of virtue over vice and dramatised the closing restoration of social and domestic peace.74 Yet the genre’s derivation from across the Channel, at a time when Napoleon constituted Britain’s greatest foe, positioned it as a prime target for xenophobic protestations, with suspicious theatre critics condemning it as a surreptitious vehicle for pro-Napoleonic thought.75 The ability of Charles the Bold, a play both imported from and set in France, to distinguish itself from the ‘monstrous tribe’ to which it belonged, seems to result from its timeliness. Charles the Bold offers a loose dramatisation of the Burgundian wars of the fifteenth century. It retells Charles the Bold’s attempt to conquer the Swiss states and to besiege the city of Nancy, before concluding with his death at the hands of those fighting on behalf of the Duke of Lorraine. Debuting three days prior to the Battle of Waterloo and remaining in Drury Lane’s repertoire for the remainder of the theatrical season, the play acquired strongly loyalist connotations. In July 1815, a journalist writing for the Monthly Theatrical Reporter wrote of Charles the Bold:

 The Times,19 June 1815.  See Frank Rahill, The World of Melodrama (London: Pennsylvania State UP, 1966), 37–45; Peter Brooks, The Melodramatic Imagination: Balzac, Henry James, Melodrama and The Mode of Excess (London: Yale UP, 1976), 4–25, 26–42; Jeffrey N. Cox, ‘The Death of Tragedy; or, the Birth of Melodrama’, in The Performing Century: Nineteenth-Century Theatre’s History, eds. Tracy C. Davis and Peter Holland (Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 161–181; Cox, Romanticism in the Shadow of War: Literary Culture in the Napoleonic War Years (Cambridge: CUP, 2014), 41–58; and Carolyn Williams, ‘Introduction’, in The Cambridge Companion to Melodrama, ed. Carolyn Williams (Cambridge: CUP, 2018), 1–12. 75  See Diego Saglia, ‘Continental Trouble: The Nationality of Melodrama and the National Stage in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain’, in The Melodramatic Moment: Music and Theatrical Culture, 1790–1820, eds., Katherine G. Hambridge and Jonathan Hicks, preface by James Chandler (London: University of Chicago Press, 2018), 49–52. 73 74

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It derives strong interest from the peculiar circumstances of the present times, and the numerous opportunities it affords the author (of which, to do him justice, he has most amply and most dexterously availed himself) of introducing very striking and happy allusions to the momentous events recently transacted, and still in a course of daily transaction, on the grand political stage of Europe. […] The ferocious ambition, the cruelty, the lust for power, the bad faith and contempt of all laws, humane and divine, which mark the character of the Burgundian Duke, […] furnish […] abundant points of strong, direct and potent allusion to the returned Corsican usurper, who now, happily for mankind, appears to have run his race. […] It is needless to add that in the present state of public feeling, these […] allusions were most rapturously applauded, and received with a degree of exultation, bordering on enthusiasm.76

Far from accusing the play of a stealthy importation of Gallic sentiments, the reviewer shows the dramatised defeat of the eponymous French tyrant to furnish Charles the Bold with a palpable allusion to the demise of Napoleon, and thus to offer a welcome spectacle to patriotic theatre-goers keen to celebrate the fall of the ‘Corsican usurper’. Concluding with the death of the French tyrant and consequent end of his imperialistic rule, the play denotes not a cultural invasion of foreign ideologies and precepts, but offers a contrary reminder, night after night, that such an invasion has failed: Napoleon, like Charles the Bold, has finally ‘run his race’. The tendency to perceive the play as an evocation of Napoleon’s defeat by Wellington is hinted in the production’s playbills, which tell how following 18 June, the performance began ‘encreasing nightly in reputation’, and had ‘become a completely established favourite’. Evidence that audiences were subtly coerced into forming a pro-British interpretation of the play is suggested by the accompanying address spoken by Mrs. Edwin ‘in honour of the IMMORTAL WELLINGTON’ followed by a rendition of God save the King.77 In spite of this manipulated Anglophilic reception, however, Charles the Bold was by no means one-dimensional in its allegorical scope. Wallack had of course adapted the play prior to Waterloo, and the ‘momentous events’ to which he sought ‘most amply and most dexterously’ to allude therefore predated those of summer 1815. At a 76  ‘CHARLES THE BOLD; OR, THE SIEGE OF NANTZ’, in Monthly Theatrical Reporter (July 1815), 390–391. 77  See Charles the Bold playbill for 22 June, in A collection of playbills from Drury Lane Theatre, MS British Playbills, 1754–1882. British Library.

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moment when Wellington was at the centre of British adulation, Charles the Bold arguably harks back to the valorous role played by Britain’s European allies in enabling Napoleon’s eventual defeat. Capable of offering ‘happy allusions’ to events ‘recently transacted’ on ‘the grand political stage of Europe’, Charles the Bold, I argue, constitutes a rich allegorical amalgam, with the capacity to communicate its anti-Gallic standpoint by transporting audiences not necessarily to the fields of Waterloo, but to the Spanish region of Saragossa. The history of Charles the Bold recalled in Pixérécourt’s narrative provides fertile scope in 1815 for political analogy, given the parallels, noted in the Monthly Theatrical Reporter, between the historical and contemporary French tyrants. It is the adaptation’s divergences from both historical fact and from Pixérécourt’s original narrative, however, that adorn it most powerfully with its perceptible allusions to the Iberian wars.78 Key among these is the conduct attributed by Wallack and Arnold to the play’s heroine, Leontina. Commenting on the melodrama’s historical fabrications, the journalist writing for The Times declared: History to be sure has undergone some torture from Mr Wallack, the ingenious fabricator of this romance. We, or at least the dramatis personae, are amply indemnified, nonetheless, for the anachronisms, and poetical inventions of the author. […] Charles, instead of being slain and stript in vulgar battle with a brother Duke is blown to pieces by the delicate hand of the fair and heroic Leontina.79

As the reviewer notes, Wallack presents as the agent of Charles’ death not a ‘brother Duke’, as in the historical record, but the play’s ‘fair and heroic’ heroine, Leontina. While Pixérécourt had similarly painted his fictitious heroine as the perpetrator of the tyrant’s fall, the manner in which Charles is defeated in Wallack’s adaptation is of striking allegorical potency. Unlike Pixérécourt’s heroine, who kills the tyrant with a sword, in Wallack’s adaptation, Leontina’s occupation of an unmanned cannon sees the villain ‘blown to pieces’ by her ‘delicate hand’. Charles the Bold thus shows an imperialistic French tyrant fail in ‘subdu[ing] a nation whose hearts as well as arms are engaged against’ 78  On Pixérécourt’s original play see Barbara T.  Cooper, ‘Up in Arms: Defending the Patriarchy in Pixérécourt’s Charles Le Téméraire’, Symposium, vol. 47, issue 3 (Fall 1993), 171–187. 79  The Times, 19 June 1815.

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him, on account of a woman’s act of manning a cannon to protect her besieged city.80 By 1815, the image of a ‘heroic’, ‘fair’ and ‘delicate’ woman operating such artillery to defend her invaded nation offers ‘abundant points of strong, direct and potent allusion’ to the heroic actions of the aforementioned Agustina de Aragon, whose famous utilisation of a cannon to guard Saragossa from French invaders was being widely recalled in British literature, art, and provincial theatre.81 The events of Saragossa were particularly well-suited to melodrama. While cannon-fire alone offered enticing opportunities for the type of extravagant spectacle popular in military melodramas of the 1810s, the battle fought in Iberia foregrounded protagonists matching the nascent melodrama’s typical dramatis personae.82 As Katherine Newey has shown, ‘British melodramatic forms’ increasingly ‘placed ordinary working men and women as heroic and feeling individuals at the centre of the spectacle’.83 The patriot warfare enacted in Spain, and the exertions of Agustina, a ‘woman of the lower class’, thus provided a ready source for melodramatic appropriation by tapping into the growing vogue for theatrical depictions of relatable, quotidian figures.84 Agustina’s ripeness for an exhibition in melodrama was amplified by the representational strategies used by British commentators to negotiate the Maid’s femininity. Despite epitomising the patriotic zeal and military valour needed for success in the Iberian campaign, the extent to which Agustina’s actions could be celebrated in Britain was complicated by her

80  Samuel Arnold, Charles the Bold; a Melodrame, in three acts. MS copy. 3 June 1815. John Larpent Plays. The Huntington Library. LA1864. I.i.3. 81  Agustina plays a lead role in George Bennett’s The Siege of Saragossa; or, Spanish Patriots of 1808, staged at Norwich in 1813, which I turn to analyse later. On provincial performances of the Peninsular War see Valladares, Staging, 153–200. 82  On miliary melodrama of the 1810s see Matthew Buckley, ‘Early English Melodrama’, in The Cambridge Companion to English Melodrama, ed. Williams, 13–30. 83  Katherine Newey, ‘Bubbles of the Day: The Melodramatic and the Pantomimic’, in Politics, Performance, and Popular Culture: Theatre and Society in Nineteenth-Century Britain, eds. Peter Yeandle, Jeffrey Richards, and Katherine Newey (Manchester: Manchester UP, 2016), 62. 84  Southey, ‘Siege of Zaragoza’, 311. As Buckley observes, the melodrama’s emphasis on ordinary and plebeian characters would reach its apex in the 1820s, yet the vogue was already evident in the early 1800s. See ‘Early English Melodrama’, 16–25. On the ripeness of the Peninsular War and its heroes/heroines for melodramatic appropriation see Valladares, Staging, 107–152, 153–200.

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gender.85 Functioning on the one hand as a symbol of the nation’s patriotic ardour, and on the other as a threatening emblem of gender transgression, Agustina could be considered ‘heroic’ only if she was deemed simultaneously ‘delicate’ and ‘fair’: that is, her military exertions could be extolled as long as they did not detract from her inherently feminine nature. Accordingly, British authors and artists employed representational tactics similar to those utilised in earlier depictions of Charlotte Corday:86 Agustina’s motives were shown varyingly to derive from private and familial affections and to serve as an extension of her domestic duties; her exertions were shrouded beneath frantic displays of female sensibility and hysteria; and she was painted as an agent of God.87 Each of these character traits and representational modes are exploited by Wallack and Arnold in their depiction of Leontina. While the play text itself governs Leontina’s display of feminine virtues, emotional frenzy, and pious activism, the perceived ‘ordinariness’ of the heroine is manipulated in Arnold’s production by decisions around cast. Leontina was embodied by the rising star actress Fanny Kelly, whose notoriety in rustic and humble roles would have tinctured Leontina with a commonality becoming of the low-born Spanish Maid, despite the heroine’s status as daughter of the Governor of Nantz.88 In presenting a heroine fostering such connections to the Spanish Maid, Wallack and Arnold adorn their drama with a character whose identity not only enhances the play’s scope for political allusion, but facilitates significantly the melodrama’s thematic and formal requirements.89 The exhibition of a heroine fighting for domestic peace, embodying acute sensibilities, nurturing devoutness, and tinged with commonality, chimes harmoniously with melodrama’s emphasis on the restoration of familial and domestic equanimity, heightened emotion, the clear-cut 85  On the Maid of Saragossa and her immediate legacy see Esdaile, Women in the Peninsular War, 15–16, 94–102; Alvarez, ‘The Maid of Saragossa’, 279–297; Saglia, “‘O my Mother Spain!”’, 374–379; and Saglia, Poetic Castles, 194–199. 86  See Chap. 4. 87  On poetic accounts which adhere varyingly to each of these trends, see Saglia, “‘O my Mother Spain!’”, 374–379; and Bainbridge British Poetry,190–224. 88  On Kelly’s aptitude for and ubiquitous exhibition of ‘the pathos of common life’ see Gilli Bush-Bailey, Performing Herself: Autobiography and Fanny Kelly’s Dramatic Recollections (Manchester: Manchester UP, 2011), 17–118 (quote from 35). I discuss Kelly’s theatrical reputation further in my Epilogue. 89  On early melodrama and political allegory see Robert Poole, “‘To the Last Drop of my Blood”: Melodrama and Politics in late Georgian England’, in Politics, Performance, and Popular Culture, eds. Yeandle, Richards and Newey, 21–43.

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division of Christian virtue and atheistic vice, and the lives of ordinary people. At the same time, the spotless heroine’s concluding activation of a cannon, productive on the one hand of the pyrotechnic extravagance relished in melodrama, significantly assists the genre’s intended psychological function, by providing a powerful vehicle for the affective replication of revolutionary trauma.90 ‘Armed by Wild Despair’: Allegorising, Feminising and Melodramatising the Maid of Saragossa In his work on women in the Peninsular War, Esdaile observes three dominant categories into which Spanish women are commonly divided in narratives of the Peninsular campaign: he states, ‘we have the woman as heroine, the woman as victim, and the woman as auxiliary’. The former category comprises women mobilised to arms; the second refers to those placed on the receiving end of French savagery; and the latter depicts those who assist their male compatriots on the battlefield through the provision of food and medical care.91 In British accounts, it is not unusual for Agustina to be represented as a conglomeration of each of these categories, often following a trajectory from victim, to auxiliary, to heroine. In George Bennett’s opera The Siege of Saragossa, or Spanish Patriots of 1808 (1813) staged at the Theatre Royal Norwich in January 1813, Agustina is professedly inspired to play an active role in defending her city after experiencing ‘poignant grief for her lamented parents’ who have been killed by Napoleon’s army. As such, she becomes ‘employed in the rigorous discharge of the duty she had herself allotted, of supplying refreshments to our fatigued and parched soldiers’. While performing this auxiliary role, ‘she met retreating the dejected citizens’, and is forced, by the inaction of her menfolk and consequent vulnerability to which her city is exposed, to discharge ‘one of the longest pieces of ordnance full on the ranks of the advancing foe’.92 Agustina is shown here to progress organically, and somewhat adventitiously, from victim of war, to military auxiliary, to fully 90  On these conventions see Brooks, Melodramatic Imagination, 24–44, 49–55, 81–109; Rahill, World of Melodrama, 30–39; and Jeffrey N.  Cox, In the Shadows of Romance: Romantic Tragic Drama in Germany, England and France (Athens: Ohio UP, 1987), 38–54, 109–119, 169–172. 91  Esdaile, Women in the Peninsular War, 113. 92  George Bennett, The Siege of Saragossa; or, Spanish Patriots of 1808. MS copy. 18 January 1813. John Larpent Plays. The Huntington Library. LA1756. I.i.35–36.

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combatant heroine. And it is her embodiment of the former two positions that enable her acceptably feminine fulfilment of the latter. Presenting Agustina as a victim of familial grief and as a helpmeet to male soldiers vindicated her martial exertions by showing them to derive from typically female obligations to one’s family and menfolk. The profitability of the former representational mode in feminising Agustina is exemplified overtly in a review of Lord Byron’s famous depiction of the Spanish maid in his ballad Childe Harold (1812). Insisting in his poem that ‘Spain’s maids [are] no race of Amazons’, Byron shows the victimised Agustina to mobilise herself for action only after ‘Her lover sinks’ at the hands of the French. Byron postulates that though her actions are ‘all unsexed’, the motives behind such actions, deriving from the ‘witching arts of love’ for which women are ‘form’d’, demonstrate that it is not masculine ferocity that Agustina embodies when avenging her lover’s killer, but ‘the tender fierceness of the dove/Pecking the hand that hovers o’er her mate’.93 Pinpointing Agustina’s romanticised characterisation, a journalist writing for the General Chronicle and Literary Magazine praised Byron for having ‘mastered the difficulty’ of painting ‘a woman as foremost in the ranks of war’ and ‘active in deeds of violence and slaughter’, while assuring readers ‘that the female warrior is still a woman’.94 As the journalist implies, Agustina’s portrayal as victim of familial loss enables her to maintain ‘all the qualities and all the charms that embellish and endear the sex’, by shifting her characterisation from political and aggressive to apolitical and loving.95 Fashioning Agustina in the role of auxiliary served an equally domesticating function. As Linda Colley has shown, women’s role of supplying soldiers with ‘comforts was superficially all of a piece with their ministrations to men-folk at home’. Accordingly, it was socially acceptable for women to appear on the battlefield to provide a service for their male compatriots, as their duties constituted ‘an extension into the military

93  Byron, Childe Harold, 41. For detailed analyses of the maid’s depiction in this poem see Bainbridge, British Poetry, 32–35, 185–186; Saglia, Poetic Castles, 196–200; Saglia, ‘“O my Mother Spain!”’, 377–379; and Philip Shaw ‘Byron and War Sketches of Spain: Love and War in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’, in Palgrave Advances in Byron Studies, ed. Jane Stabler (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 213–233. 94  ‘Byron, Childe Harold’, in General Chronicle and Literary Magazine VI (November 1812), 334. 95  ‘Byron’, General Chronicle, 334.

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sphere of traditional female virtues’.96 For this reason, British authors including Southey and the military correspondent Charles Richard Vaughan parallel Bennett in showing Agustina to be among the dutiful Spanish women who ‘formed themselves into companies’ to provide care and refreshments ‘to those who defended the gates’.97 Southey’s and Vaughan’s narratives each state that it is during her intended fulfilment of this role that Agustina is forced to fire ‘off a six and twenty-pounder’, having discovered that ‘not a man who defended [the portillo] was left alive’.98 In Charles the Bold, Leontina is analogously cast in the conglomerative mould of victim, auxiliary and heroine, while additionally matching her historical counterpart in her exhibition of strong sensibilities and devoutness. This representation, as I will argue, allows Leontina to function doubly in the play as a powerful allegorical and psychological tool. Leontina is first seen on stage entering the Burgundian’s camp disguised as a woodcutter, before relaying overheard enemy strategies to the Lorrainians in their Citadel. Despite encroaching on male terrain, the implication that Leontina is behaving in opposition to gendered mores is emphatically allayed by the adornment of her actions with a tripartite familial motive. Like Southey’s Adosinda, a loosely veiled version of Agustina, Leontina’s military venture is incentivised by spousal, maternal, and filial love.99 From the play’s exposition, audiences learn that Charles has murdered Leontina’s husband, has kidnapped her son, Marcellus, and is threatening to overthrow the city of Nantz, which is governed by her father, Davilla. Expressing a willingness to ‘die rather than abandon [her] child’, and to terminate the plans of the man who ‘ordered [her husband] to be executed’ and imperils her father’s safety, Leontina’s presence in the military and political arenas denotes primarily her fulfilment of the duties of a good mother, wife and daughter.100 Her role as military activist and informant is secondary and incidental.

 Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation (New York: Yale UP, 1994), 275.  Southey, ‘Siege of Zaragoza’, 311. See also C.  R. Vaughan, Narrative of the Siege of Zaragoza (London: J. Ridgeway, 1809), 14–16. Both men show the Countess of Bureta also to be among these women. On women as auxiliaries throughout the Peninsular War see Esdaile, Women in the Peninsular War, 94–111. 98  Southey, ‘Siege of Zaragoza’, 312, 311. See also Vaughan, Narrative, 15–16. 99  Readers learn of the militarised Adosinda that ‘One hour hath orphan’d [her], and widowed [her], and made [her] childless.’ See Southey, Roderick, 224. 100  Arnold, Charles the Bold, I.i.14, 13. 96 97

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Rendering her virtue indubitable, Leontina is described in the opening line of the play as a ‘good mother’ and on five separate occasions within the same scene as a ‘good woman’.101 Her spotless domesticity is re-­ asserted compellingly in a tableau set to music in Act 2 scene 2, in which Leontina appears in a domestic abode solacing her exhausted father and bouncing ‘Marcellus on her knee’, comforting him with the knowledge that ‘the night will be very soon be over, and we shall be very comfortable in this armchair’.102 As her words and former actions convey, Leontina has no desire to abandon the domestic sphere for a life on the battlefield; rather, she wishes to secure the domestic comforts of family life, and she views her transient entrance into the public domain as a necessary sacrifice for the accomplishment of her task. In typically melodramatic fashion, the tableau paints a stark image of a family unit under threat from the play’s tyrant, whose imperilment of national security is inseparable from the imperilment of domestic peace.103 While her experience of witnessing ‘the body of [her] unfortunate [husband] suspended from the highest tree’, and her painful separation from her child, had positioned Leontina in the initial role of female victim, she soon progresses to that of military auxiliary.104 As with representations of her historical counterpart, Leontina provides her menfolk not only with physical comforts, but with simultaneous inducements to fight. Just as Agustina is recurringly shown to animate her menfolk ‘to fresh exertions’ at a moment when despair was ‘beginning to creep into their hearts’,105 Leontina revives the martial spirits of the Lorrainians who are starting to ‘consider [their] situation as helpless’, by insisting that they do not ‘cease to hope’ while they ‘have yet life’.106 Roused by Leontina’s words, the  Ibid., I.i.1, 7, 8, 11, 14.  Ibid., II.ii.29. 103  On melodrama, domesticity and social cohesion see Christine Gledhill, ‘Domestic Melodrama’, in The Cambridge Companion to English Melodrama, ed. Williams, 61–77. The closing scene of Act 1 (I.i.21) had offered a similarly domestic tableau: reminiscent of images such as Thomas Rowlandson’s Soldiers on a March (1811), which show wives of Spanish soldiers following their husbands to war with their children strapped to their backs, Leontina is imaged escaping the enemy’s camp with Marcellus on her back. Rowlandson’s image can be viewed via the Metropolitan Museum’s website: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/742879 104  Arnold, Charles the Bold, I.i.13. 105  Bennett, Siege, I.i.35, 34. See also Southey, ‘Siege of Zaragoza’, 312; and Vaughan, Narrative, 16. 106  Arnold, Charles the Bold, II.i.28. 101 102

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Lorrainians set out to confront Charles the Bold in arms. Intent on leaving the fighting to her father and male compatriots, Leontina happily occupies the role of provider and nurse. Like the Spanish women who made it their duty throughout the Peninsular campaign to ‘relieve the wounded’ and ‘carry water, wine and provisions’ to their menfolk, Leontina makes it her ‘business to supply [Davilla] with arms’, and when her father ‘is wounded’, she ‘takes off his Cuirass and his helmet and puts a bandage on the wound he has received’.107 Her presence on the battlefield is thereby once again couched in wholly domestic terms, as she looks not to usurp male roles, but to fulfil the appropriately female task of nurturer. Leontina’s role as auxiliary is short-lived, however, as, once more mirroring the situation of her historical counterpart, she is quickly coerced involuntarily into the role of female warrior. Leontina’s arrival at the status of woman as heroine results from the preceding amplification of her role as woman as victim. While overseeing her father’s attempted protection of his besieged city, the lives of both Davilla and Marcellus are endangered as each are positioned, at varying moments, at the mouth of Charles’ cannon. With her sentimental pleas seeming to prompt compassion from everyone except for Charles, who continues to display ‘the rage of a barbarian’, Leontina’s characterisation becomes increasingly hysterical; and from such hysteria comes boldness.108 Sat ‘upon her knees in the middle of the stage—apparently annihilated’, and having ‘lost all recollection’, Leontina declares: ‘The desire to revenge the death of my Husband, and a son whom I thought lost to me forever kindled in my heart a boldness beyond my sex’.109 Then, with her son remaining at Charles’ mercy, she exclaims ‘loud, with an energy which borders on frenzy’: Obdurate man! The meekest creature when defending its offspring becomes terrible in despair! […] The mother, who but now was pleading at your feet, is armed by wild despair against you—tremble for your fate.110

Still in this frenzied state, Leontina, ‘observing the situation of Charles’ and ‘with a desperate wildness, snatches the lighted match from a soldier’s hand and applies it. The cannon explodes and Charles falls dead on the  Ibid., III.i.37, 36.  Ibid., III.i.38. 109  Ibid., III.i.42, 44. 110  Ibid., III.i.45. 107 108

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stage’.111 At this moment, Leontina’s trajectory from victim, to auxiliary, to heroine is complete. The quintessentially melodramatic pace of this closing action and the intense and frenetic sensibilities exhibited by Leontina amplify the scene’s resonances with narratives of Agustina.112 Utilising the same stereotypes of Spanish femininity that we saw stamped onto Coleridge’s Alhadra, British authors including Southey and Vaughan employ dynamic verbs analogous to those used in the play’s stage directions when describing how the Maid ‘sprang’ and ‘rushed forward over the wounded’, before she ‘snatched a match from the hand of a dead artillery man’ and was seen ‘jumping upon the gun’.113 The wildness and rapidity of Agustina’s actions are embellished even further in Bennett’s Siege of Saragossa. Showing the war, and her victimisation at the hands of it, to have ‘wrought [Agustina’s] passions to a height’, a General tells how ‘[t]he indignant fire flashed from her eyes’ before she ‘rushed like lightning through the gates, climbing over heaps of slain, and seizing a match from the dead hand of an artillery man, mounted the forsaken battery, […] then leaping on the gun, […] made a vow, never to quit it alive’.114 All three authors exploit the familiar trope of the Spanish woman who exhibits an intensely physical reaction and frantically executed response to emotional sensitivities. As the phallic implications of the cannon subtly imply, the maid’s frenzy has reached such a height that it has furnished her, ironically, with corporeal capacities becoming of a man. This paradoxical nexus between female sensitivities and a readiness to adopt masculine postures reverberated in commentaries on the Peninsular War. In his History of the War on the Peninsular (1828–40), British general William Napier, commenting on the women he has witnessed in Spain ‘clothed in half uniforms and loaded with weapons’, conjectures: The current romantic tales of women rallying the troops and leading them forward at the most dangerous moments of this siege, […] may, perhaps, be allowed to doubt, yet it is not unlikely that, when suddenly environed with  Ibid., III.i.48.  On melodrama and the quintessentially physical exhibition of heightened emotion in which ‘the body is wholly seized by affective meaning’ (22), see Peter Brooks, ‘Melodrama, Body, Revolution’, in Melodrama: Stage, Picture Screen, eds. Jacky Bratton, Jim Cook and Christine Gledhill (London: British Film Institute, 1994) 11–23. 113  See also Southey, ‘Siege of Zaragoza’, 311, 312; and Vaughan, Narrative, 15, 16. 114  Bennett, Spanish Patriots, I.i.14–15. 111 112

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horrors, the sensitiveness of women, driving them to a kind of frenzy, might produce actions above the heroism of men.

While Napier here echoes the familiar conflation of female sensibilities with an ardour for violent activism that we encountered in Chap. 4, his coalescence of ‘the sensitivities of women’ with ‘the heroism of men’ goes some way towards inverting the implication projected in Eyre’s Maid of Normandy, and in Coleridge’s Remorse, that female passions lead inevitably to misguided and disorderly conduct.115 Though Napier’s choice of the modal verb ‘might’ prevents his outright denial of the capricious tendencies of women’s strong sensibilities, Napier nonetheless postulates that women’s hysterical emotions, though undeniably unpredictable in outcome, can be thanked in large part for women’s magnanimous ‘exploits at Zaragoza’.116 That Leontina’s emotional sensitivities are indeed productive of the heroic conduct described by Napier, as opposed to the ignoble actions performed by Coleridge’s equally frenzied Alhadra, is adamantly enforced in Charles the Bold. Not only does the curtain fall on Leontina’s vindicating pronouncement that ‘a frantic mother saves her child and avenges her husband’s murder!’, but Leontina’s actions, like those of West’s Corday, visited in Chap. 4, are shown additionally to be sanctioned by God.117 Declaring in her first scene on stage that ‘Heaven has […] rewarded my courage by leading me to the discovery of my son’, and subsequently expressing her confidence that ‘Heaven will protect me’, Leontina precedes her attack upon Charles with the exclamation ‘Heaven inspires me!’118 Enhancing Leontina’s projected embodiment of female virtues by magnifying her devoutness, and juxtaposing her pious conduct with the outrightly ‘savage nature’ of the ‘Obdurate man’ whose villainy she expels, Wallack and Arnold leave audiences in no doubt that Leontina’s actions are necessary for the conventional victory of pious virtue over atheistic vice.119 At the same time, Leontina’s piety amplifies the play’s historical analogies. Agustina’s equivalent characterisation as an agent of God is evidenced  On Eyre’s play see Chap. 4.  W. Napier, History of War in the Peninsular and the South of France (London: 1828–40), I:60, 59–60. 117  Arnold, Charles the Bold, III.i.48. 118  Ibid., I.i.12, 14; III.i.45. 119  Ibid., III.i.45. 115 116

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overtly in David Wilkie’s painting The Defence of Saragossa (1828) which shows the militarised maid to be assisted by an ecclesiast who aligns a crucifix with her cannon.120 In presenting the real and fictitious cannon-firing heroines as vessels of God, the virtue of the figures’ action is incontestably confirmed, while both her agency, and her threat of encouraging emulation, are fortuitously allayed. Not only is Leontina’s autonomy reduced by the suggested support that she has received from an immortal guide, but the normalcy of her character, amplified, as I have suggested, by the actress Fanny Kelly, is comfortingly downplayed. While Kelly’s rendition of Leontina serves to enhance the heroine’s perceived ‘ordinariness’ in terms of social deportment, Leontina’s status as religious martyr grants her a counterpoising ‘extraordinariness’ when it comes to her abilities as a woman: chosen by God to acquire strength beyond that of her sex, Leontina’s actions, like those of West’s Corday, allegedly surpass the reach of the normative female theatregoer who witnesses her exertions on stage. While Leontina thereby constitutes a socially relatable heroine to be admired and revered by spectators, audiences acknowledge the unfeasibility of aspiring to be like her, as they comprehend that her heroics are made possible by divine intervention, which is beyond human control. Strengthening her likeness to West’s Corday and serving further to allay her imitability, Leontina diverges from the traditional melodramatic hero who experiences no guilt following his expulsion of evil, as her actions prompt unpleasant psychological repercussions.121 In the aftermath of Charles’ murder, Leontina ‘shudder[s] to reflect on what [she has] done’.122 If her strong sensibilities had resulted initially in the frenetic act of firing a cannon, they serve now to prompt physically-manifested revulsion. Despite knowing her actions to be vindicated, as her closing proclamation reveals, Leontina is nonetheless horrified at the task she has had to perform in order to achieve her familial and pious pursuit. The ‘shudder’ implies that while the heightened sensitivities outlined by Napier may indeed render women well-suited to the fulfilment of military tasks, they 120  Wilkie’s painting, owned by the Royal Collection Trust, can be viewed at: https:// www.rct.uk/collection/405091/the-defence-of-saragossa. Southey and Bennett also show their fictionalised versions of Agustina to be inspired by heaven. See Southey, Roderick, 227; and Bennett, Siege, I.i.34; II.i.48. 121  On the melodramatic protagonist’s conventional response to the expulsion of evil see David Mayer, ‘Encountering Melodrama’, in The Cambridge Companion to Victorian and Edwardian Theatre, ed. Kerry Powell (Cambridge: CUP, 2004), 149. 122  Arnold, Charles the Bold, III.i.48.

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serve concurrently to augment the unease that they are liable to suffer in the execution’s aftermath. As the parallels between Leontina and British representations of the Maid of Saragossa imply, Wallack and Arnold, via adaptational strategies, manage to produce a play that can be seen to laud the exertions of a figure readily recognisable as Spain’s contemporary martial maid. Furnished with Agustina’s implied domesticity, sensibility, and devoutness, Leontina constitutes a cannon-firing heroine who, like her Spanish counterpart, invites unreserved praise for her defeat of the French tyrant, as her actions do not deny, but confirm indubitably, that she ‘is still a woman’. The heroine thereby facilitates the play’s allegorical communication of events enacted in Europe by offering a visual replication of the Siege of Saragossa as envisaged in the British imagination. That the play alludes literally to the Napoleonic wars, however, tells only half the story. As I want now to propose, Leontina’s virtuous yet warlike portrayal is equally potent in offering an affective allusion to recent political conflicts, by providing a psychic replication of revolutionary trauma.

‘The Explosion Immediately Takes Place’: Women, Firearms and Trauma in British Melodrama of the 1810s Studies of Pixérécourt’s Charles Le Téméraire, greatly outweighing those of its British adaptation, prevalently concur that the play’s heroine constitutes an anomaly in early nineteenth-century melodrama. Barbara Cooper conjectures that in contemporary melodrama women’s ‘strength of character and conviction is not matched by the kinds of physical or socioeconomic powers that would enable them to combat evil’, and that ‘they typically depend on men to help them triumph over oppression and adversity’.123 Gabrielle Hyslop similarly proposes that Pixérécourt’s ‘Leontine remains an atypical heroine’, at odds with ‘the predominant image of the gentle, vulnerable heroine’ whose ‘moral courage and strength’ is combined with ‘physical weakness’.124 This conception that early nineteenth-century melodrama was dominated by docile and dependent heroines is yet to be challenged forcibly in scholarly accounts of the  Cooper, ‘Up in Arms’, 171.  Gabrielle Hyslop, ‘Deviant and Dangerous Behaviour: Women in Melodrama’, The Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 19, issue 3 (Winter 1985), 75. 123 124

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British stage. The critical tendency has been to locate the most dangerous and destructive heroines in melodramas appearing post-Waterloo, and in or beyond Victoria’s reign, rising in concurrence with exhibitions of female criminality projected in the popular genre of the sensation novel.125 This existing scholarly consensus, however, warrants complication. Rather than denoting a strikingly atypical figure within British Romantic melodrama, Arnold’s Leontina can be situated as part of a larger trend observable in melodramas of the 1810s, in which the defeat of virtue over vice is dictated by a heroine whose use of firearms enables her vastly to transcend both the physical power and the affective potency of her 1790s forerunner. In centring the denouement of Charles the Bold around an explosion, Arnold and Wallack capitalise on the popularity across the 1810s of the incipient conflagration scene. Following the advancement of new technologies, theatre professionals exploited pyrotechnic spectacle for its ability to provide sensorially intoxicating scenes that were almost guaranteed to render the play a hit.126 Leading the way in terms of initiating the vogue for such arresting stage effect was Isaac Pocock’s The Miller and His Men (CG; 1813). While Pocock’s play is distinct from Charles the Bold in that it constitutes a pastoral, as opposed to military melodrama, and arguably alludes, via its explosive finale, to violence occurring at home, as opposed 125  See Martha Vicinus, ‘“Helpless and Unfriended”: Nineteenth-Century Domestic Melodrama’, New Literary History, vol. 13, no. 1 (Autumn, 1981),  127–143; and Lyn Pykett, The ‘Improper’ Feminine: The Women’s Sensation Novel and New Woman Writing (London and New  York: Routledge, 1992). For more recent studies that have begun to nuance scholarly understandings of melodrama and gender see Katherine Newey, ‘Melodrama and Gender’, in The Cambridge Companion to Melodrama, ed. Williams, 149–162; and Merle Tones, (En)Gendering a Popular Theatrical Genre: The Roles of Women in NineteenthCentury British Melodrama (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2014). On bold and Amazonian heroines featured in post-1815 and Victorian melodrama see Jacky Bratton, The Making of the West End Stage: Marriage, Management, and the Mapping of Gender in London, 1830–70 (Cambridge: CUP, 2011); Bratton, ‘Jane Scott the writer-manager’, in Women and Playwriting in Nineteenth-Century Britain, eds. Tracy C.  Davis and Ellen Donkin (Cambridge: CUP, 1999), 77–98; and Jane Moody, ‘Illusions of authorship’, in Women and Playwriting, eds. Davis and Donkin, 99–124. 126  On the popularity and varying functions of the conflagration scene see Michael Gamer, ‘“And the explosion immediately takes Place”: Romantic Tragedy and the End(s) of Melodrama’, in Essays in Honour of Lilla Maria Crisafulli, eds. Serena Baiesi and Stuart Curran (Bern: Peter Lang, 2018), 185–201; Frederick Burwick, British Drama of the Industrial Revolution (Cambridge: CUP, 2015), 230–232; Moody, Illegitimate Theatre, 102; and Valladares, ‘“All the World’s a Stage”’, in Napoleon’s Hundred Days, eds. Astbury and Philp, 185–208.

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to abroad, it shares significant parallels with Charles the Bold in terms of the agent responsible for its sensorially startling denouement.127 The Miller and His Men tells the tale of the villainous miller, Grindoff, and his execrable band of robbers. Grindoff is the abusive master of his forced mistress, Ravina, who has endured ‘seven long years captivity’ as an involuntary ‘agent of [his] wickedness’ and is ‘pining for virtue and for freedom’.128 Not content with just the one mistress, Grindoff attempts to subject the virtuous heroine, Claudine, to this same miserable fate. Claudine, however, has a lover on her side—the magnanimous Lothair—who devises a plan to free Claudine from her incarceration. Ravina agrees to assist Lothair in enabling Claudine’s escape, and the method she uses to do so anticipates the closing scene of Charles the Bold. With a battle having ensued between the vicious miller and the virtuous defenders of Claudine (her lover Lothair and her father Kelmar), Ravina, primed by Lothair, blows up the mill in which the villains are contained. The closing action of the play proceeds as follows: The mill is crowded with Banditti. Lothair, having caught Claudine in his arms […] cries, “Now, Ravina, now, fire the train!” Ravina instantly sets fire to the fuze, […] and the explosion immediately takes place. Kelmar, rushing forward, catches Claudine in his arms, and […] the curtain descends.129

Ravina’s mass destructiveness vitally enables the conventional melodramatic triumph of virtue over vice: ‘at one blow’ she allows ‘the hapless victims of captivity and insult’ to be ‘amply, dreadfully revenged!’130 Bearing striking analogy with Leontina, Ravina represents a virtuous military heroine whose use of firearms is mandatory for the defence of the innocent and the preservation of the threatened familial unit. The parallel detectable between Ravina and Leontina is not a standalone case. Curiously, theatrical finales in which women’s use of firearms catalyse the restoration of social and domestic peace is a nascently recurring trope within contemporary melodrama. In William Barrymore’s equestrian melodrama The Blood-Red Knight; or, the Fatal Bridge, staged 127  Burwick reads Pocock’s melodrama as an allusion to Luddite uprisings in the English North Midlands. See British Drama of the Industrial Revolution, 230–235. 128  Isaac Pocock, The Miller and His Men, A Melo-Drame, in Two Acts (London: C. Chapple, 1813), I.v.19. 129  Pocock, Miller, III.v.40. 130  Ibid., III.v.38.

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at Astley’s amphitheatre in 1810, audiences see the maternal and gentle Isabella save her husband and her young son from the murderous Rowland when taking up a pistol and fatally shooting the villain.131 H.W. Grosette’s gothic melodrama Raymond and Agnes; or, the Bleeding Nun, debuting at the Theatre Royal Norwich in 1811 before moving to the Haymarket later that year, witnesses a similiar scene. The loving mother, Margueritte, hostage of a villainous spouse—Baptiste—murderer of her former husband, manages to free herself, her child, and the virtuous title characters from their imprisonment in Baptiste’s cottage, when stabbing her husband and shooting his vicious accomplices to death.132 Rather than demonstrating a radical sea-change in attitudes to women and firearms across the 1810s, in which women utilising destructive battlefield artillery come to invite wholehearted celebration, the virtuous heroine’s performance of clamorous and unsurpassable carnage arguably serves to amplify the affective function towards which the melodrama strove in the aftermath of revolutionary horrors. Charles the Bold epitomises the stylistic features underpinning the melodrama’s uniquely emotive form. As scholars including Jeffrey N. Cox and Matthew Buckley have shown, ‘the rhythm of melodrama—its wielding together of individual moments of threat and fear into an engine hurtling towards an anticipated moment of moral’ and ‘domestic safety’, that ‘always seems challenged by new violence’, tapped powerfully into audiences’ visceral fears of ongoing conflict.133 By exhibiting a ‘successive series of conflicts, shocks and surprises’, the genre replicated affectively ‘the crises of revolutionary experience’, stimulating in audiences the same ‘unstable emotional responsiveness’ produced by the very real trauma through which they had just lived.134 Charles the Bold’s adherence to this quintessentially melodramatic style, defined by Buckley as an ‘aesthetic guided by a successive logic of intensification and acceleration of traumatic shock’, is

131  See William Barrymore, The Blood-Red Knight; or, The Fatal Bridge (London: Hodgson & co, 1822). 132  See H. W. Grosette, Raymond and Agnes; or, the Bleeding Nun. MS Copy. 20 November 1809. John Larpent Plays. The Huntington Library. LA1597. 133  Cox, Romanticism in the Shadow of War, 57. 134  Matthew Buckley, ‘Refugee Theatre: Melodrama and Modernity’s Loss’, Theatre Journal, vol. 61, no. 2 (May 2009), 180, 187. Also on narrative responses to revolutionary trauma see Brooks, The Melodramatic Imagination, 1–25; and Katherine Astbury, Narrative Responses to the Trauma of the French Revolution (Oxford: Legenda, 2012).

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epitomised in the play’s final scene.135 Repeatedly denying audiences the restored equanimity that it teasingly anticipates, the scene’s action rapidly replaces one horror with another, interspersing scenes of danger with fleeting experiences of solace. The tension roused when Davilla is on the cusp of being shot by Charles’ cannon gives way momentarily to relief when Leontina ‘throws herself before her father’ and ceases Charles from firing.136 This brief cessation of danger rapidly dissipates however, as Charles hurriedly redirects the cannon at Marcellus, forcing Leontina to replicate her defence of her father as she ‘rushes between the cannon and her son’ and ‘keeps hold’ of him, trying ‘to hide him in her breast’.137 Again enabling only ephemeral respite from imperilment, Charles now lines up each of the city’s citizens and threatens to shoot them one by one. At this point, Leontina discloses her plan to force Charles from the city by bluffing that ‘forty barrels of powder’ are ‘placed under that gate, which at a moment’s signal will explode’. Expressing her conviction that ‘the stratagem will save us’, Leontina impels the audience to share her confidence in the plan, and to anticipate eagerly the closing extirpation of vice.138 Yet, perpetuating the scene’s chain of successive shocks and surprises, Leontina’s strategy fails to ‘shake [Charles’] resolution’, prompting ‘despair and horror from all parties’, and leading Leontina to lament that ‘no hope remains’, while Charles once more ‘seizes the child’.139 While this rapid back and forth of endangerment and transitory safety pointedly achieves the ‘unstable emotional responsiveness’ among theatregoers at which the melodrama aimed, the apex of the play’s emotional intensity is finally reached when Leontina fires the cannon. And it is precisely because that the cannon is activated by the play’s spotless heroine that it acquires such experiential resonance. In his analysis of Barrymore’s The Blood-Red Knight, Buckley shows Isabella’s transition from ‘figure of matriarchal virtue’, who ‘has served as the focal point of all the play’s greatest and most sentimental pathos’, into ‘unflinching figure of justice,’ who provides the ‘final and most savage spectacle of war’, to speak powerfully to the erratic fluxes of emotion that characterise revolutionary trauma.140 In a split second, audiences go from  Buckley, ‘Refugee Theatre’, 182.  Arnold, Charles the Bold, III.i.38. 137  Ibid., III.i.39, 42. 138  Ibid., III.i.45. 139  Ibid., III.i.47. 140  Buckley, ‘Refugee Theatre’, 186. 135 136

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pitying Isabella to fearing her; from immersing themselves sympathetically in her struggles, to cowering at her actions. Making plain the cultural resonances produced by such emotional fluctuations, Buckley expatiates, and I quote him here at length: The play is able to prompt rapid pendulum swings from one extreme to the other, from absorptive emotion to repudiating horror. This affective dynamic […] bears such a close relation to the distinctly traumatic structure of historical experience during the period, repeating and intensifying the swinging movements between sympathetic, imaginative absorption and antipathetic, recoiling horror that characterised the most violent experiences of the French Revolution and the opening decade of the Napoleonic war. Alternately and repeatedly drawing its spectators into positions of imaginative sympathy and then shocking them into recoiling postures of projected retributory violence, catalyzing and re-catalyzing extreme emotion through the concentration and intensification of these affective stimuli, melodrama must certainly have reinforced and exacerbated, and even produced among those who did not yet possess them, the unstable, post-traumatic emotional structures upon which it played.141

Buckley’s analysis of Barrymore’s drama places Isabella at the heart of its affective poignancy. Isabella’s unexpected and almost horrifyingly uncharacteristic use of firearms produces, more than any other moment in the play, the ‘rapid pendulum swing’ in emotion that speaks to revolutionary experience. Her firing of the gun, which is both sensationally and affectively alarming, catapults audiences at speed from one end of the psychological spectrum to the other: having been lulled into a sympathetic response to Isabella by her quiet maternal softness, audiences are jolted into shock and revulsion at the clamorous and dreadful violence she is forced to commit. Transporting audiences from ‘absorptive elicitation of reflections, feelings and anxieties’, to ‘startling, shocking realization in spectacular action of nightmares and half thought-out fears’, Isabella’s warfare vitally adorns the melodrama with the same intensity of experience provided by the revolution: an intensity which, by the 1810s, theatregoers had come to demand.142  Ibid., 186–187.  Ibid., 184. On this idea see also Buckley, ‘The Formation of Melodrama’, in The Oxford Handbook of the Georgian Theatre, 1737–1832, eds. David Francis Taylor and Julia Swindells (Oxford: OUP, 2014). 141 142

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This unexpected shift from embodiment of virtuous sentiment into agent of mass destruction unites the heroines of  Charles the Bold,  The Blood-Red Knight, The Miller and His Men, and Raymond and Agnes. Constituting a series of melodramas in which ‘struggles of virtue devolve […] into frantic and desperate acts of violence and horror’, the heroines’ varying activations of cannons, guns and explosives carry the narratives’ ‘successive logic of intensification and acceleration of traumatic shock’ to a sensorial and affective climax with a transcendently jolting ‘bang’.143 While stunning audiences physically, the heroine’s warfare hurtles theatregoers emotionally from postures of pity, into states of overwhelming alarm and confusion, as victory is once more secured in ‘bizarre, almost nightmarish fashion’.144 What these melodramas signify is a dramatic context in which female-perpetrated violence alludes not necessarily to the literal event of revolution, as it had done in earlier decades. The allusion, contrarily, is experiential: the sea-sawing of emotion and the ‘shocks and surprises’ imposed upon the senses by the spotless heroine’s use of firearms compels audiences imaginatively to re-live a process which, in its intense production of psychological unease and jarring bewilderment, ‘bears such a close relation to the distinctly traumatic structure’ of the revolutionary and Napoleonic epochs.145 The heroine’s uncensored exhibition of audibly, visually and emotionally startling warfare is consequently paramount in allowing audiences to confront, and by extension, to purge themselves of the anxieties stemming from the prolonged trauma through which they have lived.146 By the time that Charles the Bold reaches the stage in summer 1815, with French attempts to dominate Europe having seemingly ended in failure,  such emotional catharsis provides audiences with a felicitous liberation from the turmoil of the revolutionary and Napoleonic age, which had finally reached a close.

References Newspapers

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Edinburgh Annual Review for 1810 (The) General Chronicle and Literary Magazine Monthly Theatrical Reporter Times (The)  Buckley, ‘Refugee Theatre’, 185, 180.  Ibid., 187. 145  Ibid., 186. 146  On trauma narratives and catharsis see Astbury, Narrative Responses, 4–11. 143 144

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Manuscript Collections A collection of playbills from Drury Lane Theatre. MS British Playbills, 1754-1882. British Library. Arnold, Samuel, Charles the Bold; a Melodrame, in three acts. MS Copy. 3 June 1815. LA1864. John Larpent Plays, Huntington Library, San Marino, California. Bennett, George, The Siege of Saragossa; or, Spanish Patriots of 1808. MS Copy. 18 January 1813. LA1756. John Larpent Plays, Huntington Library, San Marino, California. Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, Remorse. A Tragedy. MS Copy. 4 January 1813. LA1753. John Larpent Plays, The Huntingdon Library, San Marino, California Grosette, H.  W., Raymond and Agnes; or, the Bleeding Nun. MS Copy. 20 November 1809. LA1597. John Larpent Plays, The Huntingdon Library, San Marino, California

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Moody, Jane, ‘Illusions of Authorship’, in Women and Playwriting in Nineteenth-­ Century Britain, eds. Tracy C.  Davis and Ellen Donkin (Cambridge: CUP, 1999), 99-124 Muir, Rory, Britain and the Defeat of Napoleon, 1807-1815 (London: Yale UP, 1996) Napier, W., History of War in the Peninsular and the South of France (London: 1828-40) Newey, Katherine, ‘Bubbles of the Day: The Melodramatic and the Pantomimic’, in Politics, Performance, and Popular Culture: Theatre and Society in Nineteenth-­ Century Britain, eds. Peter Yeandle, Jeffrey Richards, and Katherine Newey (Manchester: Manchester UP, 2016), 59-71 Newey, Katherine, ‘Melodrama and Gender’, in The Cambridge Companion to English Melodrama, ed. Carolyn Williams (Cambridge: CUP, 2018), 149-162 Packer, Ian and Lynda Pratt, ‘Robert Southey and the Peninsular Campaign’, in Spain in British Romanticism, 1800-1840, eds. Diego Saglia and Ian Haywood (Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 37-54 Pocock, Isaac, The Miller and His Men, A Melo-Drame, in Two Acts (London: C. Chapple, 1813) Poole, Robert, ‘“To the Last Drop of my Blood”: Melodrama and Politics in late Georgian England’, in Politics, Performance, and Popular Culture: Theatre and Society in Nineteenth-Century Britain, eds. Peter Yeandle, Jeffrey Richards and Katherine Newey (Manchester: Manchester UP, 2016), 21-43 Pykett, Lyn, The ‘Improper’ Feminine: The Women’s Sensation Novel and New Woman Writing (London and New York: Routledge, 1992) Rahill, Frank, The World of Melodrama (London: Pennsylvania State UP, 1966) Saglia, Diego, ‘“O My Mother Spain!”: The Peninsular War, Family Matters, and the Practice of Romantic Nation-Writing’, ELH, vol. 65, no. 2 (Summer 1998), 363-393 Saglia, Diego, ‘Continental Trouble: The Nationality of Melodrama and the National Stage in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain’, in The Melodramatic Moment: Music and Theatrical Culture, 1790–1820, eds., Katherine G.  Hambridge and Jonathan Hicks, preface by James Chandler (London: University of Chicago Press, 2018), 49-52 Saglia, Diego, ‘Spanish Stages: British Romantic Tragedy and the Theatrical Politics of Spain, 1808-1823’, European Romantic Review, vol. 19 (2008), 19-32 Saglia, Diego, ‘War Romances, Historical Analogies and Coleridge’s Letters on the Spaniards’, in Romantic Wars: Studies in Culture and Conflict, 1793–1822, ed. Philip Shaw (London: Routledge, 2000a), 138-160 Saglia, Diego, Poetic Castles in Spain: British Romanticism and Figurations of Iberia (Atlanta: Rodopi, 2000b) Schiller, Friedrich, The Robbers (1781), trans. and intro. by F. J. Lamport (London: Penguin, 1979)

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Sealey-Morris, Gabriel, ‘Coleridge’s Moors: Osorio, Remorse, and the Swarthy Shadow of Othello’, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, vol. 35, issue 3 (2015), 297-308 Shaw, Philip, ‘Byron and War Sketches of Spain: Love and War in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’, in Palgrave Advances in Byron Studies, ed. Jane Stabler (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 213-233 Shaw, Philip, Waterloo and the Romantic Imagination (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002) Southey, Robert, History of the Peninsular War, in Three volumes (London: John Murray, 1832) Southey, Robert, Roderick; or, the Last of the Goths (1814), in Poems of Robert Southey, ed. Maurice H. Fitzgerald (London: OUP, 1909) Tones, Merle, (En)Gendering a Popular Theatrical Genre: The Roles of Women in Nineteenth-Century British Melodrama (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2014). Valladares, Susan, ‘“All the World’s a Stage and All the Men Are Merely Players”: Theatre-Going in London During the Hundred Days’, in Napoleon’s Hundred Days and the Politics of Legitimacy: War, Culture and Society, 1750-1850, eds. Katherine Astbury and Mark Philp (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), 185-208 Valladares, Susan, ‘“He that can bring the dead to life again”: Resurrecting the Spanish Setting of Coleridge’s Osorio (1797) and Remorse (1813)’, in Romanticism and the Anglo-Hispanic Imaginary, ed. Joselyn M. Almeida (New York: Rodopi, 2010), 133-155 Valladares, Susan, Staging the Peninsular War: English Theatres, 1807-1815 (London: Routledge, 2015) Vaughan, C. R., Narrative of the Siege of Zaragoza (London: J. Ridgeway, 1809) Vicinus, Martha, ‘“Helpless and Unfriended”: Nineteenth-Century Domestic Melodrama’, New Literary History, vol. 13, no. 1 (Autumn, 1981), 127-143 Watkins, Daniel P., ‘“In that New World”: The Deep Historical Structure of Coleridge’s Osorio’, Philological Quarterly, vol. 69, issue 4 (Fall 1990): 495-515 Williams, Carolyn, ‘Introduction’, in The Cambridge Companion to Melodrama, ed. Carolyn Williams (Cambridge: CUP, 2018), 1-12 Woodring, Carl, Politics in the Poetry of Coleridge (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1961) Wordsworth, William, The Collected Poems of William Wordsworth, ed. and intro. by Antonia Hill (Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Poetry Library, 1994)

CHAPTER 7

Epilogue: The Armed Woman Exits

In tracing the arms-bearing woman’s trajectory from 1789 to 1815 in the Theatres Royal of London and Dublin, we see the initial monopoly held over the figure’s identity by the natively tragic dagger-brandishing heroine, to come under attack across the period from the transcendently insidious Anglo-German heroine, not unacquainted with a sword, and the sensationally and affectively shocking melodramatic heroine, whose warfare reaches remarkable new heights in terms of its destructiveness. If, at the start of the period, Inchbald’s pistol-clutching Eleanor constitutes a striking anomaly within sentimental and serious drama staged in London’s patent theatres, by the 1810s, attendees at Haymarket, Covent Garden and Drury Lane are exposed to spirited, non-whimsical heroines who do not merely occupy pistols, but fearlessly fire guns and even activate explosives, with fatal yet heroic effects.1 United by genre, these latter heroines signal the vital role played by the popularisation of illegitimate theatre in amplifying the visibility of a superlatively violent stage amazon, who muddies the armed woman’s association in Britain with revolutionary vice, by constituting a deadly yet spotless preserver of virtue. 1  I allude here to H. W. Grosette’s Raymond and Agnes (Haymarket; 1811), Isaac Pocock’s The Miller and His Men (CG; 1813), and Samuel Arnold’s Charles the Bold (DL; 1815), each discussed in the preceding chapter.

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023 S. Burdett, The Arms-Bearing Woman and British Theatre in the Age of Revolution, 1789–1815, Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-15474-4_7

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By way of periodisation, it is viable to speculate on a connection between the birth of the melodramatic amazon, the actress that plays her, and shifting attitudes towards ‘the people’ in the closing years and eventual aftermath of the Napoleonic wars. If serious drama of the 1790s had been dominated by noble dagger-brandishing heroines, aligned closely with the dignified and regal Sarah Siddons, melodramas produced during and immediately succeeding the Napoleonic campaign turn to celebrate a more ‘ordinary’ armed woman: the normalcy of whom is frequently enhanced through her embodiment by an actress fostering public relatability that the revered tragedienne lacks.2 Performers including Sarah Egerton and Fanny Kelly, who played Ravina and Leontina in The Miller and His Men (CG; 1813) and Charles the Bold (DL; 1815) respectively, were considered ill-suited to the majestic heroines of tragedy, yet excelled in the rustic and humble roles proliferating in melodrama. While Egerton achieved fame playing the gypsy traveller Meg Merrilies and the country woman Madge Wildfire in melodramatic adaptations of Sir Walter Scott’s Guy Mannering (CG; 1816) and The Heart of Mid-Lothian (Surrey Theatre; 1819), Kelly recalls her patron and friend ‘Lady Savage’ listing among her most successful roles ‘the serjeant’s wife’, ‘the Irish girl’, ‘the Innkeeper’s Daughter’ and ‘the Peasant Boy’: her aptitude for roles of this type claimed to derive from her prowess in articulating ‘the pathos of common life’.3 The popularity of stage amazons aligned via both role and actress with the experience of ‘common life’ marks a potential re-­imagining of plebian culture in the build-up and immediate aftermath of Napoleon’s defeat. If, in the 1790s, the ‘people’ had been equated with the revolutionary mob, and the ‘common’ amazon with the poissardes of Paris, by the close of the 1810s, it had become safe, and perhaps even desirable, within certain parameters, to evoke the quotidian soldiers, women among 2  On melodrama’s increasing celebration of ‘ordinary’ heroes and heroines see Katherine Newey, ‘Bubbles of the Day: The Melodramatic and the Pantomimic’, in Politics, Performance and Popular Culture: Theatre and Society in Nineteenth-Century Britain, eds. Peter Yeandle, Jeffrey Richards, and Katherine Newey (Manchester: Manchester UP, 2016), 62; and Matthew Buckley, ‘Early English Melodrama’, in The Cambridge Companion to English Melodrama, ed. Carolyn Williams (Cambridge: CUP, 2018), 15-25. 3  Fanny Kelly, Dramatic Recollections (1833), 128; and La Belle Assemblee (August 1828), 72, both reproduced in Gilli Bush-Bailey, Performing Herself: Autobiography and Fanny Kelly’s Dramatic Recollections (Manchester: Manchester UP, 2011), 33, 35. On Egerton’s theatrical career see Joseph Knight and J. Gilliland, ‘Egerton, Sarah’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004), https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/8592

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them, whose patriotic exertions had proved so fundamental in the war against Napoleon. Heroines exhibiting military energy and vigour become prevalent in melodramas staged in London’s minor theatres in the years immediately succeeding Waterloo.4 Yet the existence on the patent stage of the explosion-­generating heroine, popularised in the 1810s, appears to have been ephemeral. The end of the war led to a decline in vogue for the military melodrama to which Arnold’s cannon-firing Leontina owed her representation, thus narrowing opportunities for successive heroines to follow in her footsteps in the impressive operation of battlefield artillery.5 Pastoral melodramas like The Miller and His Men enjoyed greater longevity on London’s patent stage.6 Yet, a comparison of Pocock’s debut production with subsequent renditions of the play indicates a potential shift in theatrical tastes and demands concerning portrayals of gender. In 1813, as we have seen, Ravina had the final say in the action of Pocock’s melodrama when lighting the fuse that blows up the barn. The play’s licensing manuscript, the printed text from 1813, and a new edition published in 1816, each uphold Ravina’s status as the fatal preserver of virtue.7 In the version of the play printed in Cumberland’s British Theatre in 1830, however, which reflects the melodrama’s recent performances at the ‘Theatres Royal, London’, a revision is made to the denouement which significantly alters the play’s gendered ideology. The final action of The Miller and His Men now proceeds as follows: 4  See for instance Jane Scott’s Camilla the Amazon (Sans Pereil; 1817); Thomas Dibdin’s Heart of Mid-Lothian (Surrey Theatre; 1819); Hyppolita, Queen of the Amazons (Astley’s Amphitheatre; 1819); James Robinson Planche’s Kenilworth Castle (Adelphi; 1821) and Edward Fitzball’s Joan of Arc (Sadler’s Wells; 1822). Scholars including Jane Moody and Jackie Bratton have drawn links between the emergence of this type of melodramatic amazon and the rise of the actress as theatre manager. On this topic, with particular reference to performances by Madame Vestris, Celine Celeste and Jane Scott, see Jane Moody, ‘Illusions of Authorship’, in Women and Playwrighting in Nineteenth-Century Britain, eds. Tracy C.  Davis and Ellen Donkin (Cambridge: CUP, 1999), 99-124; and Jacky Bratton, ‘Jane Scott the writer-manager’, in Women and Playwrighting, eds. Davis and Donkin, 77-98. 5  On the decline of the military melodrama’s popularity see Buckley, ‘Early English Melodrama’, 20-26. 6  On the pastoral sub-genre see ibid., 20-26. 7  See Isaac Pocock, The Bohemian Miller. MS Copy. 12 Oct 1813. John Larpent Plays. Huntington Library. LA1781; Pocock, The Miller and His Men, A Melo-Drame, in Two Acts (London: C. Chapple, 1813); and Pocock, The Miller and His Men, A Melo-Drame in two Acts. A New Edition (London: C. Chapple, 1816).

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The Mill is crowded with banditti  - Lothair throws back the bridge, catches Claudine in his arms, and […] hurries upon the bridge. Lothair: [crossing the bridge with Claudine in his arms] Ravina, fire the train. Ravina: I cannot Lothair: Nay, then give me the match! Lothair instantly sets fire to the fuse, […] and the explosion immediately takes place. Kelmar, rushing forward, catches Claudine in his arms.8

While Ravina had unhesitatingly lit the fuse in 1813, somewhere between 1816 and 1830 a decision was made to amend her concluding conduct. With Lothair now usurping Ravina as the mobilised military hero, the play enforces mainstream understandings of gender and warfare: Ravina’s declaration that she ‘cannot’ fire the train, and Lothair’s consequent need to step in and achieve seamlessly that at which she fails, harks back to postulations around women’s physical and mental incapacity to partake in martial proceedings, and ultimate reliance on men in matters of emergency, which we have seen clustered throughout this study. While we might speculate that the revision signals a reactionary backlash against the melodramatic amazons’ rising popularity in the years during and immediately succeeding Napoleon’s defeat, it is equally viable to resolve that theatregoers simply no longer demanded the same affectively jolting viewing experience that they had relished in the 1810s.9 Matthew Buckley argues that as the 1800s progressed, melodramas which continued to reposition theatregoers in a state of affective turmoil replicating the nightmare of revolutionary experience came to seem, ‘if not quite dated, very nearly so’.10 While the heroine’s alarming use of firearms was profitable in the 1810s in adorning melodrama with an experiential resonance to the prolonged period of political unrest through which audiences were living, or had very recently lived, by 1830, with the country enjoying a period of relative stability and peace, such psychological duplication of the emotional instability characterising the revolutionary experience starts to decline in appeal. As the memory of revolutionary trauma gradually begins  Isaac Pocock, The Miller and His Men, in Cumberland’s British Theatre, 48 vols, no. 187 (London: G. H. Davidson, 1830), XXVI: II.v.48. For the original denouement see the previous chapter. 9  On the proposed psychological function of heroines like Ravina in melodramas of the 1810s see the previous chapter. 10  Buckley, ‘Early English Melodrama’, 16. 8

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to fade, the spotless heroine’s unexpected provocation of unsurpassable carnage loses its prior potency as an experiential allusion to the shocks and surprises witnessed daily on the stages of revolutionary and Napoleonic Europe. Accordingly, heroines like Ravina are stripped of their prior affective force and become functionally somewhat redundant. The curtailed lifespan of this type of armed heroine foregrounds the profound impact of the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars in governing the stage amazon’s identity and evolution across the period 1789 to 1815. While an interrelatedness between revolutionary proceedings and the armed woman’s theatrical characterisation was inevitable, the ways in which responses to revolutionary chaos materialise on stage frequently defy expectation. A glance at the periodicals, political pamphlets, conduct literature and graphic satire produced in Britain throughout the 1790s indicates clearly the growing hostilities directed towards martial women in the wake of events of France. Despite this, armed heroines are recurrently styled in the patent theatre in ways that allow them to be condoned, and even celebrated, by British liberals and conservatives alike. Fashioned varyingly as agents of male reform, devoted wives and mothers, loyal disciples of God, and British allies in the war against Napoleon, women firing pistols, thrusting daggers, wielding swords, and activating explosives, are more often than not dissociated from the monstrous ‘furies of hell’ presented in Burke’s Reflections, and made to acquire surprisingly harmonious relationships with Britain’s national, political and gendered ideologies.11 A principal cause of this, as the sources analysed in this book have sought to evince, is the continual discrepancy between the female warriors’ literal and allegorical identities. Heroines who allude overtly to the armed women provoking chaos in contemporary France are prevented from being interpreted simply as embodiments of revolutionary energy on account of the unlikely characters with whom they are concurrently aligned. We have seen how, in 1794, the unsexed and regicidal Lady Macbeth acquires an astonishing likeness to the haunting apparition of Marie Antoinette, and serves as a powerful deterrent of revolutionary sympathies; three years later, the bloodthirsty Amazonian Queen Margaret of Anjou is conflated with the actress Sarah Yates and becomes an admirably selfless and sentimental mother; in 1804, the French republican Charlotte Corday contrarily defies pro-establishment agendas when morphing into a  Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (London: J. Dodsley, 1790), 106.

11

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symbol of the warlike Hibernia, encouraging resistance to the Irish Act of Union; nine years later, Coleridge’s Spanish murderess shifts from a bloodthirsty enemy of national peace into an unruly ally in the Iberian campaign; and in the year of Napoleon’s defeat, Arnold’s Lorrainian heroine offers a striking evocation of the heroic Maid of Saragossa. These sources foreground overtly the marked tendency from 1789 to 1815 for complex and manifold meanings to be embedded beneath characters’ surface appearances, and thus for plays to be furnished with richly multi-­ layered inferences, which are perpetually reshaped from one performance to the next. As the approach adopted throughout my study attests, the appreciation of such dynamic and heterogenous meanings demands a methodological framework that exploits multiple disciplinary perspectives and analytical practises, which, when conglomerated, are fecund in divulging the array of interweaving contextual threads that bear upon the armed woman’s theatrical representation and reception. My employment of this methodology has enabled the identification of the arms-bearing woman presented in British drama as a fertile figure for the expansion of broader studies in British Romantic culture. While microcosmic in focus, the far-reaching findings borne from this book facilitate developments in scholarly explorations of Anglo-European relations; Romantic transnational dialogues; cultural constructions of gender; evolving models of sensibility; thematic, formal and stylistic responses to war and conflict; and theories of spectatorship. Substantial scope remains to deepen and complicate the stage amazon’s contribution to studies of British Romanticism, by turning the spotlight on national, temporal and theatrical contexts unexplored within the parameters of my study, which are ripe for interrogation.

References Manuscript Collections Pocock, Isaac, The Bohemian Miller. MS Copy. 12 October 1813. LA1781. John Larpent Plays, Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Online Collections Knight, Joseph, and J. Gilliland, ‘Egerton, Sarah’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004), https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/8592

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Primary

and

279

Secondary Sources (Printed)

Bratton, Jacky, ‘Jane Scott the writer-manager’, in Women and Playwrighting in Nineteenth-Century Britain, eds. Tracy C. Davis and Ellen Donkin (Cambridge: CUP, 1999), 77-98. Buckley, Matthew, ‘Early English Melodrama’, in The Cambridge Companion to English Melodrama, ed. Carolyn Williams (Cambridge: CUP, 2018), 13-30 Burke, Edmund, Reflections on the Revolution in France (London: J. Dodsley, 1790) Bush-Bailey, Gilli, Performing Herself: Autobiography and Fanny Kelly’s Dramatic Recollections (Manchester: Manchester UP, 2011) Moody, Jane, ‘Illusions of Authorship’, in Women and Playwrighting in Nineteenth-­ Century Britain, eds. Tracy C.  Davis and Ellen Donkin (Cambridge: CUP, 1999), 99-124 Newey, Katherine, ‘Bubbles of the Day: The Melodramatic and the Pantomimic’, in Politics, Performance, and Popular Culture: Theatre and Society in Nineteenth-­ Century Britain, eds. Peter Yeandle, Jeffrey Richards, and Katherine Newey (Manchester: Manchester UP, 2016), 59-71 Pocock, Isaac, The Miller and His Men, A Melo-Drame in Two Acts. A New Edition. (London: C. Chapple, 1816) Pocock, Isaac, The Miller and His Men, A Melo-Drame, in Two Acts (London: C. Chapple, 1813b) Pocock, Isaac, The Miller and His Men, in Cumberland’s British Theatre, 48 vols, vol. 26, no. 187 (London: G. H. Davidson, 1830)

Index1

A Aberdeen Magazine, Literary Chronicle and Review, 1788-1790 (The), 123 ‘Account of the German Theatre’ (Mackenzie), 189, 189n1, 198, 212 Acting Theory, 106, 106n83, 119 Act of Union, 25, 168–178, 172n148, 278 Adaptation, 23, 26, 40, 41, 108, 110, 191, 194, 203, 208–210, 212, 248, 249, 260 Addison, Joseph, 161, 162, 164, 166 and Cato, 161, 161n103, 166 Adelaide de Narbonne, with Memoirs of Charlotte de Cordet, 138 Adelaide of Wulfingen, 191, 194 Adultery Analyzed, 204, 205 Agustina de Aragon, 28, 231–234, 237, 250–255, 257, 258, 260, 278 See also Saragossa, Maid of

Almeyda: Queen of Granada. A Tragedy, 157 Amar, André, 147, 148, 151 and women’s revolutionary activism, 147, 148, 151 Analytical Review, or History of Literature Domestic and Foreign, 168, 194, 200 Annual Register (The), 230n5 Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine (The), 206 Apology for the Life of Mr Colley Cibber (An), 21 Aristotle, 66, 82 and theories of tragedy, 66 Arnold, Samuel James, 8, 28, 234, 246, 251, 261, 273n1, 275 and Charles the Bold, 28, 234, 246, 249, 251, 254, 258, 260–263, 266, 278 Artist (The), 51 Astley’s Amphitheatre, 263, 275n4

 Note: Page numbers followed by ‘n’ refer to notes.

1

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023 S. Burdett, The Arms-Bearing Woman and British Theatre in the Age of Revolution, 1789–1815, Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-15474-4

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INDEX

B Ballad on the death of Louis the unfortunate […] and A description of the appearance of Marie Antoinette’s ghost (A), 86 Bannister, John, 52, 52n53 and Next Door Neighbours, 52 Barbaroux, Charles, 134 Bardsley, Samuel Ardent, 206 Barnes, Thomas, 222 Barrymore, William, 262, 264, 265 and The Blood-Red Knight, 262, 264, 266 Bartholomew, John, 92 and The Fall of the French Monarchy, 92 Bastille, Storming of, 10 Bath, Theatre Royal, 113, 116, 168 Battle of Hexham (The), 60, 63, 108 Beattie, James, 123 Beeches, William, 55, 55n63 and Mrs Siddons with the emblems of tragedy, 55 Bell, George (Professor), 90, 92, 94 and Sarah Siddons, 90, 92, 94 Bell’s Weekly Messenger, 113n117 Benefit performances, 113n122, 114, 119 Bennes, Madame de, 146 Bennett, George, 250n81, 252, 254 and The Siege of Saragossa, or Spanish Patriots of 1808, 250n81, 252, 257 Benson, Robert, 143, 143n37 and Britain’s Glory; or, a Trip to Portsmouth, 143, 143n37, 145, 146, 150 Bertram: or, The Castle of St. Aldobrand, 196, 197, 199 Biographia Dramatica; or A Companion to the Playhouse, 178 Biographia Literaria, 196, 196n24

Blood-Red Knight; or, the Fatal Bridge (The), 262, 264, 266 Boaden, James, 96, 97, 103 and Fontainville Forest, 96, 97, 103 and Inchbald, 47, 64 and Sarah Siddons, 90, 91, 96, 97, 219 Bonaparte, Napoleon, 230, 236, 244, 247–249, 252, 275, 277, 278 Bonduca, 3 Bone, Henry Pierce, 97, 98 Bonneville, Nicholas de, 58n71 Bovi, Mariano, 100 and The Trial of Marie Antoinette Queen of France October 14, 1793, 100 Bowles, John, 153, 158 Bristol, Theatre Royal, 47 Britain’s Glory; or, a Trip to Portsmouth: A Musical Entertainment, 143, 143n37, 145 Britannia, 11 British Review (The), 220, 221, 236 British Theatre; or a Collection of Plays (The), 54, 54n60, 65 Britton, John, 203 Brocas, James Henry, 177 Brown, Mather, 92 Brutus, 155, 158, 161, 162, 166, 167 and revolutionary France, 134, 134n5, 153, 154, 154n77 and women, 137, 155, 157 Brutus; or, the Fall of Tarquin, 166, 167 Bureta, Countess of, 231, 231n8, 232, 234, 254n97 Burke, Edmund, 6, 13, 14, 14n33, 19, 66, 69, 164, 174n154, 277 and A Letter from Mr. Burke, to a Member of the National Assembly, 164, 164n112

 INDEX 

and Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and the Beautiful, 66, 67, 69 and Reflections on the Revolution in France, 13, 14n33, 277 Byron, Lord George, 231, 253 and Childe Harold, 253 C Camp: A Musical Entertainment (The), 143, 145 Campbell, Thomas, 117 Cannons, 28, 249, 250, 252, 256, 257, 259, 260, 264, 266, 275 Castle Spectre (The), 17, 27, 193–195, 200, 201 Cato, 161, 162, 166, 167 Cato. A Tragedy (Addison), 161, 166 Censorship, 18, 18n50, 18n52, 19, 23, 26, 40, 40n13, 50, 54, 54n61, 71, 73, 85, 168, 169n131, 208 Charles IX, or the School for Kings (Chénier), 19 Charles Le Téméraire, ou, Le Siege de Nancy (Pixérécourt), 28, 246, 249, 260 Charles the Bold (Duke of Burgundy), 247–249, 254, 256, 264 Charles the Bold; or, the Siege of Nantz, a Melodrame, in three acts, 28, 234, 246–249, 250n80, 251, 254, 255, 257–259, 261–264, 266, 274, 278 Chaumette, Pierre, 59, 64 and women’s revolutionary activism, 59 Chénier, Marie-Joseph, 19 and Charles IX, or the School for Kings, 19

283

Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, 231, 231n9, 253, 253n93 Christian Love, 153, 155, 158, 160, 162, 163 Cibber, Colley, 20, 21, 42 and Apology for the Life of Mr Colley Cibber, 21n62 and Love’s Last Shift, 42, 46 Clapham Sect, 19 Closet Drama, 6n14, 7n16, 8, 21, 57, 64–70 Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 8, 28, 69, 69n117, 193–199, 195n23, 197n35, 201, 214–215, 221, 223, 224, 234–239, 241–246, 257, 258, 278 and Biographia Literaria, 196 and Charlotte Corday, 243, 244 and German Drama, 193–199, 195n23, 201, 215, 221, 224, 241 and Letters on the Spaniards, 237–239 and Osorio, 194, 195, 215, 217–220, 235 and Peninsular War, 28, 234–239, 243, 244, 246 and Remorse, 28, 195, 214–224, 234–236, 239, 241–246, 257, 258, 278 and Zapolya, 196 Colman, George (the elder), 3, 52, 53n55 and Bonduca, 3 and Haymarket Theatre, 52, 53, 108, 113 Colman, George (the younger), 16, 17, 52–54, 53n57, 54n59, 54n60, 54n61, 57, 60, 63, 64, 108, 113, 119, 210, 210n84 and Battle of Hexham, 60, 63, 108 and Haymarket Theatre, 53 and Iron Chest, 53 and Random Records, 16, 17n45

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INDEX

Comber, Thomas, 204, 205, 207 Comedy, 4, 6, 6n14, 17, 42, 42n18, 54–56, 55n62, 55n65, 192, 200, 201, 222, 247 and Pistols, 55, 55n64 Compte de Warwick (Le), 108 Conflagration scene, 261, 261n126, 262, 266, 273, 276 Contrast (The), 11, 12, 136n10 Corday, Charlotte, 6n13, 11, 27, 124, 133–178, 232, 243, 244, 251, 258, 259, 277 Cordeliers Club, 58, 58n72 Covent Garden Theatre (CG), 6, 17, 28, 64, 71, 72, 93, 96, 97, 110, 166, 194, 210, 212, 219, 220, 261, 273, 273n1, 274 Cowley, Hannah, 156 and The Fate of Sparta, 156, 163 Craik, Helen, 138 Critical Remarks on Pizarro, 206, 207n74, 219n118 Critical Review; or, Annals of literature, 190, 191 Crouch, Anna Maria, 16, 93, 97 and Marie Antoinette, 93, 97 and Memoirs of Mrs Crouch, 16 Crow Street Theatre (CS), 27, 139, 168, 169, 171 Cruikshank, Isaac, 11–13, 91, 135n9, 159n88 Cumberland, Richard, 28, 194, 195, 207, 210–214, 217 and Joanna of Montfaucon, 28, 194, 195, 207, 210–214 D Daggers, 1, 11, 12, 55n63, 193, 194, 209, 213–215, 213n92, 273, 274, 277 David, Jacques-Louis, 155–157, 164, 167

Davies, Thomas, 68 Death of Marie Antoinette Queen of France and Navarre (Sayer), 99 Defence of Saragossa (The) (Wilkie), 259 d’Eglantine, Fabre, 134, 141, 158 Democratic Rage; or, Louis the Unfortunate, 169 Destouches, Philippe, 41 and Le Dissipateur, 41 Deverell, Mary, 7n16 and Mary Queen of Scots, 7n16 Dibdin, Thomas, 274, 275n4 and Guy Mannering, 274 and Heart of Mid-Lothian, 274 Discourse on the Love of our Country (A), 160 Distressed Mother (The), 116 Dodd, James, 47 Drake, Nathan, 67n106 Dramatist, or Memoirs of the Stage (The), 115 Drury Lane Theatre (DL), 3, 6, 17, 27, 28, 53, 81, 83, 109, 143, 166, 191, 193–196, 217, 224, 244, 246, 247, 273, 274 Dublin, 1, 27, 139, 151, 168–171, 273 E Earl of Warwick: A Tragedy (The), 27, 81, 82, 104–111, 108n97, 113, 114, 117–121, 223, 277 Edinburgh Annual Review (The), 229 Edinburgh Magazine, or Literary Miscellany (The), 201 Edwin, Elizabeth Rebecca, 248 Egerton, Sarah, 274 and melodrama, 274 England Preserved: an historical play, 212, 220

 INDEX 

Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (An), 21, 21n63, 155n80, 160, 162, 164 Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex (An), 14, 14n35, 114, 115n126 Evening Mail, 84, 219 Every One Has His Fault, 17, 41n15, 71, 72 Examiner (The), 222 Eyre, John Edmund, 27, 139–142, 148, 150–152, 158, 159, 168, 169, 169n130, 171, 258 and ‘Captive Queen,’ 140 and Maid of Normandy, 27, 139–142, 149–152, 158, 168, 169, 171, 172, 177, 178, 258 F Fall of the French Monarchy; or, Louis XVI. An historical tragedy (The), 92 Farington, Joseph, 102 Fate of Sparta; or, the Rival Kings (The), 156, 157 Fawcett, Joseph, 160 Female Heroism, a Tragedy in Five Acts, 6n13, 27, 139, 151–153, 158, 164, 167, 168, 171, 172, 174–178, 258, 259 Female Soldier, or, The Surprising Life and Adventures of Hannah Snell (The), 145 Female Spectatorship, 21, 21n66, 202, 206, 207, 259 Fitzball, Edward, 275n4 Fontainville Forest: A Play, in five acts, 96, 103 Francklin, Thomas, 27, 81, 104–111, 120 and Earl of Warwick, 82, 104–111, 113, 114, 117–121, 123

285

French Revolution, 1, 2, 10, 11, 15, 16, 18, 23, 25, 26, 58, 61, 72, 83, 84, 89, 103, 104, 107, 114, 136, 144, 147, 154, 160, 167–169, 178, 190, 192, 198, 202, 203, 208, 213, 217, 229, 231, 235, 247, 263–266, 273, 274, 276, 277 G Gazette de France Nationale, 134 Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser, 110n108 General Chronicle and Literary Magazine, 253 General Evening Post, 50, 112 Gentleman, Francis, 67n108, 68 Gentleman’s Magazine (The), 9, 11, 14, 15, 93, 93n43, 101, 205 George III, 176 German Drama, 189–193, 195–202, 195n23, 196n29, 197n30, 204, 206, 208, 211, 214–216, 221, 224, 234, 241, 247, 273 See also Sturm und Drang Gifford, William, 206, 207 Gillray, James, 135, 135n9, 136, 141, 159n88 Girondins, 133–135, 175 Gisborne, Thomas, 14, 19, 22, 114, 115n126, 148 and Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex (An), 19, 21 Glover, Julia, 220–224, 224n136 and Remorse, 220–224, 224n136 Glover, Richard, 3 and Medea, 3 Godwin, William, 18n49, 21, 41n15, 58n71, 64n93, 65n96, 71, 155, 155n80, 158, 160, 162, 164 Goethe, Johann Von, 191, 194n21

286 

INDEX

Grecian Daughter (The), 3, 200 Grosette, H. W., 263, 273n1 and Raymond and Agnes; or, The Bleeding Nun, 263, 266, 273n1 Guerrilla warfare (Spanish), 232, 233, 237–244, 246 Guy Mannering; or, The Gipsey’s Prophecy: a musical play, in three acts, 274 H Harlow, George Henry, 94, 97 Harpe, Jean-François de la, 108 Harris, Thomas, 47, 64 Hawkins, Laetitia Matilda, 148 and Letters on the Female Mind, 148 Haymarket Theatre, 50, 52, 53n55, 54, 54n59, 64, 93, 108, 110, 113, 113n122, 119, 165, 169n130, 194, 208, 210, 263, 273 Hazlitt, William and German Drama, 191 and Sarah Siddons, 96 and Thomas Holcroft, 155n80 Heart of Mid-Lothian; Or, The Lily Of St. Leonard’s: A Melo-dramatic Romance, in Three Acts (The), 274 Hemans, Felicia and Peninsular War, 231 Heroic Charlotte La Cordé, upon her trial (The), 135, 136, 159n88 Hibernia, 175, 176, 178, 278 and dramatic depictions of, 173, 174 and poetic depictions of, 176 and visual depictions of, 176 Historical and Moral View of the Origin and Progress of the French Revolution (An), 93 History of the Peninsular War (Southey), 233, 238, 240, 243

History of the War in the Peninsular and the South of France (Napier), 257 Holbrook, Ann Catherine, 115, 117 Holcroft, Thomas, 58n71, 71, 155, 155n80, 158 Holland, Edward, 86 and Marie Antoinette, 86, 103 Holman, Joseph George, 8, 28, 54n59, 194, 195, 207–210, 208n79, 213–215, 217 and The Red-Cross Knights, 28, 54n59, 194, 195, 207–210, 214–216 Hunt, Leigh, 96 Hutchinson, Sarah, 223, 223n132 I Inchbald, Elizabeth, 7, 17, 18, 22, 26, 37–73, 210, 210n84 and adaptation, 26, 41, 47–49, 54, 61–63 and Every One Has His Fault, 71, 72 and The Massacre, 26, 40, 41, 56–73 and Next Door Neighbours, 7, 26, 40–56, 71, 72, 210, 210n84, 273 and Remarks on the British Theatre, 54, 54n60, 65 and sexual assault, 45n28, 47, 50 and A Simple Story, 58n71 Infanticide, 154, 155, 162, 165, 166 Irish Rebellion, 1798, 171, 172, 174n154 Iron Chest (The), 53, 53n56 J Jacobins, 11, 27, 88, 124, 133, 135, 138, 140, 141, 150, 151, 158, 167, 168, 170, 191, 204, 224, 236, 237

 INDEX 

Jael, 159, 159n90 Jean Hennuyer, Bishop of Lizieux: or, the massacre of St. Bartholomew, 61–64 Jerningham, Edward, 108, 110, 111 and ‘Margaret of Anjou; an Historical Interlude,’ 108, 110, 111 Joanna of Montfaucon; A Dramatic Romance, 28, 194, 195, 207, 210–214 Joan of Arc, 159, 159n88, 159n91 John Bull, 173–175 Jones, Elizabeth, 112, 113, 113n117, 113n119 Jordan, Dorothy, 4 Judith of Bethulia, 159, 159n90 Julius Caesar, 18 K Kelly, Fanny, 251, 259, 274 and Charles the Bold, 251, 259, 274 and melodrama, 251, 274 Kemble, Charles, 165 and The Point of Honour, 165, 166 Kemble, John Philip, 53, 53n57, 81, 83–84, 86, 90, 94, 102, 103, 166, 167 and Cato, 166, 167 and Iron Chest, 53, 53n57 and Macbeth, 81, 83–84, 87, 88, 90, 94, 96, 101, 102, 104, 277 Kemble, Mrs Stephen (Elizabeth), 56 and Next Door Neighbours, 56 King Lear, 68 Knowles, James Sheridan, 91, 96 and Lady Macbeth, 95 and Sarah Siddons, 95, 96 Kotzebue, August Von, 191, 192, 194, 196, 196n29, 197, 212, 213 and Coleridge, 196, 197, 216, 224

287

and Joanna of Montfaucon, 194, 210–214 and Pizarro, 194, 201, 206, 216 L La Touche, John, 171, 171n144 Lady Macbeth, 26–27, 81–95, 103, 107, 219n118, 277 Lady’s Monthly Museum, or Polite Repository of Amusement and Instruction (The), 39 Larpent, Anna Maria, 168 Larpent, John, 18, 50, 51, 73, 168 Lee, Nathaniel, 161, 162, 164, 166 and Lucius Junius Brutus, 161, 166 Lee, Sophia, 157 and Almeyda: Queen of Granada, 157, 163 Léon, Pauline, 57–61, 59n75, 64 Letter from Mr. Burke, to a Member of the National Assembly (A), 164, 165 Letters Containing a Sketch of the Politics of France, 138 Letters on the Female Mind, its powers and pursuits, 148 Letters on the Spaniards, 237, 238 Letter to the Women of England, on the injustice of mental subordination, 38–40, 46, 142 Lewis, Matthew G., 17, 27, 69, 69n117, 193–195, 200, 207 and Castle Spectre, 17, 27, 193, 195, 200, 207 and Monk, 69, 69n117 Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of his Sons (The), 155–157, 164, 167 London Chronicle, 110 London Packet; or, New Evening Post (The), 212 Louis XVI, 84, 91, 169, 169n130

288 

INDEX

Love’s Last Shift: or, the Fool in Fashion, 42, 46 Lucius Junius Brutus; Father of his Country. A Tragedy, 161 Lyceum Theatre, 246 M Macbeth, 27, 81–104, 277 and ghosts, 82, 85–87, 93, 102 Mackenzie, Henry, 19n56, 189, 190, 192, 195, 198–201, 198n39, 205, 212, 221 and German Drama, 189, 190, 195, 198, 202, 221 Macklin, Charles, 52 Maid of Normandy; or, the Death of the Queen of France (The), 27, 139, 140, 148, 150–152, 168–170, 178, 258 Mangin, Edward, 96 Marat, Jean-Paul, 11, 27, 133–135, 138, 139, 141, 148–153, 158, 159, 163, 169, 172, 175, 176, 178, 243, 244 Margaret of Anjou, 27, 81–98, 104, 107, 108, 112, 113, 120, 121, 123, 124, 223, 277 and dramatic depictions of, 60, 63, 107–109, 111, 120, 123 ‘Margaret of Anjou; An Historical Interlude’ (Jerningham), 108, 110, 111 Marie Antoinette, 25, 27, 82–84, 86, 88–104, 107, 124, 140, 141, 150, 169, 277 and British hostilities to, 90, 91 and British sympathies for, 91–94 and dramatic accounts of, 92, 140, 141, 150, 178 and poetic accounts of, 84, 86, 92–94, 100, 140

Mary, Queen of Scots; An Historical Tragedy, 7n16 Massacre (The), 26, 40, 41, 56, 57, 59, 61–64, 66, 67, 70–72 Mathias, Thomas James, 204 Maturin, Charles, 196 and Bertram, 196, 199, 201 and Coleridge, 196, 197, 199, 201 and German Drama, 196 May, Walter B., 242 Medea, 3 Melodrama, 2, 24, 28, 55n64, 234, 246–252, 255, 257, 257n112, 259–266, 273–276, 274n2, 276n9 Memoirs of Mrs Inchbald, 47 Memoirs of the Late Thomas Holcroft, 58n71 Mercier, Louis-Sébastien, 41, 48, 61, 62n81 and Jean Hennuyer: évêque de Lizieux, 41, 61, 63 and L’indigent, 7, 41, 48–51 Méricourt, Théroigne de, 59n75 Meteors (The), 193 Miller and His Men (The), 261, 262, 266, 274, 275 Monk (The), 69, 69n117 Monody to the Memory of the Late Queen of France, 92, 97 Monthly Register (The), 198 Monthly Review, Or Literary Journal (The), 168, 191–192 Monthly Theatrical Reporter, 247, 249 More, Hannah, 19, 20 and drama, 19, 20 and female warriors, 59 and motherhood, 59 and sensibility, 148 and Strictures, 59, 148 Morning Chronicle (The), 110n108, 119, 166, 220, 221

 INDEX 

Morning Herald, 91 Mrs Siddons as Lady Macbeth, sleepwalking scene, Act V, from Macbeth by Shakespeare, 95, 97n61 Mrs Siddons with the emblems of tragedy, 55n63 Murphy, Arthur, 3, 200 and Grecian Daughter, 3, 200 and Zenobia, 3 Mysterious Mother (The), 66 N Napier, William, 257–259 Napoleonic Wars, 1, 23, 26, 229, 232, 247–249, 260, 265, 266, 274, 276, 277 Nares, Reverend Robert, 71, 72 and Inchbald, 72 Narrative of the Siege of Zaragoza (Vaughan), 254, 257 Next Door Neighbours, 7, 26, 40–56, 71, 72, 210, 210n84 Nobody, 6 Norwich, Theatre Royal, 250n81, 252, 263 O Oracle and Public Advertiser, 118 Osorio: A Tragedy, 194, 195, 215, 217–220, 235 Otway, Thomas, 20, 37, 200 and Venice Preserved, 20, 37 Oulton, Walley Chamberlain, 53n55, 102 P Panegyric in Honour of the Duke of Wellington (A), 242 Payne, John Howard, 166, 167 and Brutus, 166, 167

289

Pellegrini, Domenico, 97, 100 Peninsular War, 25, 229, 232, 235–237, 239, 240, 243, 249, 250, 252–260, 278 and female activism, 230, 231, 233, 234, 236, 254, 257, 258 Philips, Ambrose and The Distressed Mother, 116 Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (A), 66, 69 Piggott, Harriet, 38, 39 and Robert and Adela, 38 Pindar, Peter, 173–175 and Triple Alliance, 174, 175 See also Walcot, John Pistols, 1, 7, 12, 28, 39, 40, 44, 46, 49, 51, 56, 263, 273, 277 Pixérécourt, Rene Guilbert de, 246, 249 and Charles Le Téméraire, 28, 260 Pizarro: A Tragedy in Five Acts, 194, 195, 201, 203–207, 216, 219, 221 Planche, James Robinson, 275n4 Plumptre, Anne, 7n16, 194 Pocock, Isaac, 261, 275 and The Miller and His Men, 261, 262, 266, 275 Point of Honour, a play, in three acts (The), 165, 166 Polwhele, Richard, 114n124 Pope, Maria Anna, 211n88 Pope, Elizabeth (nee Younge), 110, 111, 111n110 Portia, 155, 157, 164, 167 Preston, William, 170, 202, 203, 205–207, 214 and Democratic Rage, 169, 170 and German Drama, 201, 202 Price, Richard, 160 Priestley, Joseph, 90

290 

INDEX

Pritchard, Hannah, 88 and Lady Macbeth, 88, 92 Prudhomme, Louis, 59, 60n78 Q Quarterly Review, 167 R Radcliffe, Ann, 69 and aesthetic theory, 66–68 and dramatisations of novels, 96, 97 Rage (The), 6, 85 Random Records, 16, 17n45 Raymond and Agnes; or, the Bleeding Nun, 263, 266 Red-Cross Knights (The), 28, 54n59, 194, 195, 207–209, 214, 216 Reflections on the Revolution in France, 13, 277 ‘Remarks on the Character of Lady Macbeth’ (Siddons), 92 Remorse, A Tragedy, 28, 195, 214–224, 224n136, 234–237, 239–246, 258, 278 Republican Belle (A), 11–13 Revolutionary Republican Women, Society for, 58 Reynolds, Frederick, 6, 85 and The Rage, 6, 85 Richard III, 96 Rickman, John, 244 Robbers (The) (Schiller), 19n56, 27, 194–196, 198–200, 202, 204, 208, 210, 215, 224, 236, 237 Robbers (The) (Tytler), 194, 208, 209 Robert and Adela: or, the rights of women best maintained by the sentiments of nature, 38 Robespierre, Maximilien François, 164, 169, 178

Robinson, Mary, 6, 38–40, 44, 46, 47, 92, 142, 150 and Letter to the Women of England, 38–40, 44, 46, 142 and Monody to the Memory of the Late Queen of France, 92, 97 and Nobody, 6 Roderick; or, the Last of the Goths, 237 Roman Ideals, 153–154, 161, 162, 164–167 and France, 154, 165 and the Terror, 155, 164–167 and women, 156, 158, 164 Roses: Or King Henry VI, An Historical Tragedy (The), 108 Rowlandson, Thomas, 11, 12, 136n10, 255n103 S St Bartholomew Massacre, 19, 57, 61 Saragossa, Maid of, see Agustina de Aragon Saragossa, Siege of, 28, 230, 234, 250, 258, 260 Sayer, Robert, 97, 99 Schiller, Friedrich, 19n56, 27, 28, 191, 192, 194, 195, 198, 198n40, 207, 208, 209n80, 215, 236, 237 and Coleridge, 28, 195, 196, 198, 215–217, 221, 224, 236, 237, 241 and Europhobia, 192, 198, 221 and The Robbers, 19n56, 27, 192, 194–199, 207–210, 214–217, 221, 234, 236, 237, 240 Scott, Jane, 275n4 Scott, Sir Walter and dramatic adaptations of novels, 274 Sensation Novel, 261

 INDEX 

Sensibility, 8, 44–46, 48, 49, 61, 139, 141, 142, 160, 162–164, 166, 167, 199, 207, 214, 218, 219, 278 and hysteria, 147–151, 214, 245, 251, 257–259 and political activism, 139, 150, 163, 165, 167, 259 and virtue, 148, 165, 167 Sentimental Comedy, 26, 28, 42–56 September Massacres (1792), 57, 70 Sermons on Various Subjects, dedicated by permission to the Right hon. Bishop of Kildare (West), 152, 160, 162 Shakespeare, William, 18, 27, 65n99, 68, 81–83, 85, 88, 95, 107–109, 194, 197 and Coleridge, 197 and Hamlet, 85, 86, 98, 102, 103 and Julius Caesar, 18 and King Henry VI, Part III, 81, 107–109 and King Lear, 68, 68n113 and Macbeth, 27, 81, 83–85, 88, 92, 94, 95, 102, 277 and Richard III, 96 Sheridan and Kotzebue (Britton), 203 Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, 143, 194, 201, 203, 205, 207, 221 and The Camp, 143, 145, 146, 150 and Pizarro, 27, 194, 195, 201–207, 216, 219, 221, 224 Sicilian Romance: Or, the Apparition of the Cliffs (The), 97 Siddons, Henry, 97 and The Sicilian Romance, 97 Siddons, Sarah, 22, 27, 55, 55n63, 81, 82, 88–92, 94–98, 97n61, 101, 103, 110, 110n104, 116–118, 116n131, 117n132, 219, 219n118, 274

291

and Coleridge, 219, 220 and Lady Macbeth, 90–92, 94, 96–98, 101–105, 123, 277 and Macbeth, 81, 82, 88, 90–92, 96, 102, 104 and Margaret of Anjou, 27, 110 and Pizarro, 219 and ‘Three Reasons,’ 116, 118 Siege of Saragossa; or, Spanish Patriots of 1808 (The) (Bennett), 252, 255, 257 Sleepwalking Scene in Macbeth (The), 98 Smith, Adam, 162, 164 and Cato, 161, 166 Smith, Charlotte, 6, 220 and What is She?, 6, 220 Smith, Sarah, 219, 220 and Remorse, 220, 221 Snell, Hannah, 145, 146 Southerne, Thomas, 200 Southey, Robert, 229–231, 233, 234, 237, 238, 240, 254 and Peninsular War, 229–233, 238, 240, 243, 244, 254, 257 and Roderick; or, the Last of the Goths, 237, 254 Spain, 28, 215, 224, 229–266 Stadial Theory, 15, 37–39, 42, 60 Stage ghost, 87, 96, 96n57, 97, 194 Starke, Mariana, 53n55 Stoicism, 155, 158, 160–165, 167 Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education, 59, 148 Sturm und Drang, 2, 24, 191, 196, 247 Sun (The), 110n108 Surrey Theatre, 274 Swords, 1, 39, 62, 194, 195, 208, 210–213, 216, 236, 241, 249, 273, 277

292 

INDEX

T Talbot, Marie Ann, 146, 146n48 Taylor, Edward, 66n103 Taylor, John, 47 Terror, Reign of, 18, 26, 71, 73, 84, 85, 108, 135, 164, 165 Theatrical Inquisitor and Monthly Mirror, 219, 221 Theory of Moral Sentiments (The), 161 Thompson, Benjamin, 191, 194 and Adelaide of Wulfingen, 191, 194 Times (The), 10, 222, 246, 249 Tomahawk, or Censor General, 20 Ton; or, Follies of Fashion (The), 42, 46 Tragedy, 55, 55n63, 66, 190, 192, 199–201, 247, 273, 274 and catharsis, 82, 83, 101, 104 and daggers, 55, 55n63, 194 and horror, 66, 67 and terror, 66, 70 The Trial of Marie Antoinette Queen of France October 14, 1793, 100 Triple Alliance: or, John Bull’s disappointment (The), 173, 175 True Briton (The), 17, 17n46, 73 Tytler, Alexander Fraser, 194, 208 and The Robbers, 194, 208, 209 U United Irishmen, 170, 171, 171n144 Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure, 144 Unsex’d Females (The), 114n124 V Valpy, Richard, 108 and The Roses: Or King Henry VI, 108 Vaughan, Charles Richard, 254, 257

Venice Preserved: Or, a Plot Discovered, 20, 37, 38, 168 Versailles, women’s march on, 10, 14n33 Vindication of the Rights of Woman (A), 6, 59, 71 W Wakefield, Priscilla, 137n14 Walcot, John, see Pindar, Peter Waldron, Francis Godolphin, 53n55 Walker, Robert, 145, 146 and Hannah Snell, 145, 146 Wallace, Lady, 42 and The Ton, 42, 46 Wallack, James, 246, 248, 249, 251, 261 and Charles the Bold, 246, 248, 249, 251, 258, 260–262 Wallis, Tryphosa Jane, 212 Walpole, Horace, 66 and Mysterious Mother, 66 Waterloo (Battle of), 23, 247–249, 261, 275 Watson, George, 212 and England Preserved, 212, 220 Weekly Entertainer: or Agreeable and Instructive Repository (The), 146 Wellington, Duke of, 239, 242, 243, 248, 249 and Coleridge, 239, 242 and Peninsular War, 239, 242, 243 West, Matthew, 6n13, 27, 139, 139n21, 151–153, 155, 157–162, 159n91, 164, 171, 174, 175, 178, 194 and Charlotte Corday, 139, 151–153, 155, 157–160, 163, 175–177, 258, 259 and Clane, 152, 171

 INDEX 

and Eyre, 27, 151, 152, 158, 159, 177, 178 and Female Heroism, 27, 139, 139n21, 151–153, 157–159, 159n91, 161, 163, 164, 166, 167, 172, 174–178, 258, 259 and Sermons on Various Subjects, 152, 153n75, 160, 162 and United Irishmen, 171, 171n144 Westminster Magazine (The), 55n65 Westphalen, Christine, 139 What is She? (Smith), 6, 220 Whitehall Evening Post, 11 Wilkes, Thomas, 67n108 Wilkie, David, 259 Wilkinson, Tate, 108n97 Williams, Helen Maria, 138 Wollstonecraft, Mary, 6, 6n13, 65n96, 71, 72n126, 93 and female warriors, 6, 59 and Historical and Moral View of the French Revolution, 93 and Marie Antoinette, 93 and motherhood, 59 and Vindication of the Rights of Woman, 6, 6n13, 71 Wonderful Magazine and Marvellous Chronicle (The), 137n14 Woodfall, William, 17n47 Wordsworth, William, 233

293

and ‘The French and the Spanish Guerrillas,’ 233 and ‘Spanish Guerrillas, 1811,’ 233 World (The), 50, 145, 146 Y Yates, Mary Anne, 108, 109 Yates, Richard, 108, 112 Yates, Sarah, 22, 27, 82, 108, 108n97, 109, 111–114, 113n121, 114n123, 117–120, 122–124, 223, 277 and actresses, 82, 108, 277 and Earl of Warwick, 82, 108, 108n97, 110, 111, 113, 114, 117, 118, 120, 122, 123, 277 and Margaret of Anjou, 82, 111 and murder of husband, 112, 113 Yates, Thomas, 112, 113, 118, 119, 122 and murder, 112 and Sarah Yates, 112, 113 York, Theatre Royal, 113 Young, Mary Julia, 16, 17, 19 Z Zenobia, 3