Becoming Somebody: Refashioning the Body Politic in Mary Robinson’s Nobody

  • Terry F. RobinsonEmail author


In 1794, Mary Robinson—author, celebrity figure, and former actress and mistress of the Prince of Wales—debuted her new comedy Nobody at London’s Drury Lane Theatre. It caused a near-riot. This chapter maintains that allusions in Robinson’s drama to “Nobody,” a graphic image often figured as a woman wearing an empire-waist gown with “no bodice,” stage a crisis of embodiment in which the ills of the state are imaged through fashionable folly. The drama provides fresh insight into the politics of fashion, and how authors engaged print media and performance networks to generate suggestion and critique. Moreover, it reveals how Robinson intended, through Nobody, to write herself into being—to rescript her social role from a stylish trendsetter into a respected author.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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