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“A Mass of Unnatural and Repulsive Horrors”: Staging Horror in Nineteenth-Century English Theater

  • Sarah A. Winter
Chapter

Abstract

“Horror” is not often associated with nineteenth-century British plays. Although critics have explored “Gothic dramas,” monster spectacles, and supernatural theatre, there has been minimal attention to horror as a distinct theatrical mode. Winter unveils a very dark side to nineteenth-century theatre by uncovering meticulous horror mechanisms aimed to petrify audiences throughout the period. The stage technologies, gruesome scenes, and searing suspense all arrested the audiences’ attention, which provided platforms for voicing societal concerns in the plays’ contexts. Three representative dramas based on Frankenstein (1823), Sweeney Todd (1847), and ghostly mystery (1871) are examined to illustrate the genre’s shifting trends. Winter’s analysis thus provides an informative overview, whilst also casting light upon horror’s overlooked prevalence in the era’s theatres, where the roots of horror film lie.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah A. Winter
    • 1
  1. 1.New College DurhamDurhamUK

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