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ISBN: 9780312425760448 Pages
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Charlotte Charke's father, Colley Cibber, was one of the eighteenth-century's great actor/playwrights--and it was thought that the comedically gifted young Charlotte would follow in his footsteps at the legendary Drury Lane. However, Charlotte's habit of wearing men's clothes off stage as well as on, proved an obstacle to her career.
Kathryn Shevelow re-creates Charlotte's downfall from the heights of London's theatrical world to its lascivious lows (the domain of fire-eaters, puppeteers, wastrels, gender-bending cross-dressers, wenches, and scandalous sorts of every variety) and her comeback as the author of one of the first autobiographies ever written by a woman. Beyond the appealingly unorthodox Charlotte, Shevelow masterfully recalls for us a historical era of extraordinary stylishness, artifice, character, interest, and intrigue.
Of all the spectacles in London, one of the most popular was Bethlem Royal Hospital, the madhouse....