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performing arts
A Strange Eventful History: The Dramatic Lives of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and Their Remarkable Families
 
 
Author
Michael Holroyd.
Publisher Chatto & Windus  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.6 inches
ISBN 9780701179878
Pages/Publication Date 620/2008
Daedalus Item Code 01500
This item is not available.
Description
The biographer of Augustus John, Bernard Shaw, and Lytton Strachey here offers a double-family portrait of two theatrical dynasties of Victorian England. Ellen Terry was a natural actress who filled the theatre with what seemed a magical radiance; London's Times called her the "uncrowned queen of England." The child-bride of painter G.F. Watts, she eloped with a friend of Oscar Wilde's and gave birth to two illegitimate children. But her greatest partnership was onstage with legendary actor-manager and tragedian Henry Irving. At the Lyceum Theatre in London, the two of them created a grand Cathedral of the Arts. Their intimately involved lives exceeded in plot the Shakespearean dramas they performed on stage—and indeed were curiously affected by them. They also influenced the life and work of their remarkable children, Ellen's in particular. Edy Craig, who founded the feminist theatre group the Pioneer Players, established a lesbian community whose complex love affairs made those of the Bloomsbury Group seem rather conventional. Her brother, Edward Gordon Craig, was a revolutionary stage designer who collaborated with Stanislavski on a spectacular production of Hamlet in Moscow. He is portrayed here as a forgotten genius of modernism, the father of 13 children by 8 women (including the dancer Isadora Duncan), and is perhaps the most extraordinary man Michael Holroyd has ever written about.

"Holroyd's sweeping biography ... proceeds at a furious pace.... The effect is of an epic."—The New Yorker

 
 
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