This essay was originally published in Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary Relations, Volume 10.2.
Essay Topics and Keywords:
Melodrama, Dion Boucicault, National identity, The Octoroon, Boucicault's plays, The Colleen Bawn, Arrah-na-Pogue, The Shaughraun, Daddy O”Dowd, A Fireside Story of Ireland, The Fenian movement in Ireland
An extract from this essay:
“The melodramatist Dion Boucicault epitomised both the transnational ambitions of the mid-nineteenth-century theatre, and some of its contradictions. Remarkably international in its production, at least in the Anglophone world, the drama was nevertheless fascinated by national difference. As Walter J. Meserve has observed, British actors, managers and playwrights crowded into American theatres, at least until the Civil War, and a large group of cosmopolitan actor-playwrights have since defied confinement to a single national history (John Brougham, J.B. Howe, James Pilgrim, Henry W. Plunkett, John Howard Payne, and so on). Yet national types were staple features of comic and melodramatic writing for several decades, and Yankee roles delighted British and American audiences alongside “˜Frontiersmen”, “˜Indian” and “˜Negro”, “˜Cockney”, “˜Scottish” and “˜Irish” parts“¦“?
About the author
Selwyn College, University of Cambridge