Harlequin Britain : Pantomime and Entertainment, 1690--1760
John O'BrienISBN: 0801879108; 9780801879104;
Book Description In the fall of 1723, two London theaters staged, almost simultaneously, pantomime performances of the Faust story. Unlike traditional five-act plays, pantomime -- a bawdy hybrid of dance, music, spectacle, and commedia dell'arte featuring the familiar figure of the harlequin at its center -- was a theatrical experience of unprecedented accessibility. The immediate popularity of this new genre created the first instance of youth culture in modern Europe, drawing theater apprentices to the cities to learn the new style, and pantomime became the subject of lively debate within British society. Alexander Pope and Henry Fielding, for example, bitterly opposed the intrusion into legitimate literary culture of what they regarded as fairground amusements, which appealed to sensation and passion over reason and judgment. In Harlequin Britain , literary scholar John O'Brien examines this new form of entertainment and the effect it had on British culture....