Stage Mothers: Women, Work and the Theatre, 1660-1830 Feb 15 2011

full name / name of organization: 
Elaine McGirr / Royal Holloway and Laura Engel / Duquesne University

This collection of essays seeks to explore the connection(s) between working mothers and the theater both on and off stage throughout the long eighteenth century. Although the realities of eighteenth-century motherhood and representations of maternity have been investigated in relation to the novel, the idea of motherhood and its connection to the theatre as a professional, material, literary, and cultural site has received little critical attention. We would welcome essays on the following topics:

• Representations of mothers in eighteenth and early nineteenth-century plays
• Actresses or other performers as working mothers
• Maternity and female celebrity
• Maternity and female playwrights
• Representations of actresses as mothers in plays, novels, memoirs or poetry
• Maternity and theatre management
• The theatre as nursery
• Maternity and the training of actresses and actors
• Visual representations (portraits, engravings, cartoons etc) of theatrical mothers
• Representations of theatrical mothers in diaries, letters, and/or the press
• Maternity and the performing body
• Tensions or synergies between maternal, marital and professional identities
• Actresses, maternity and private theatricals
• Actresses, maternity, and the eighteenth-century legal system

A major academic press has expressed interest in publishing the collection. Please send 500 word proposals by 15 February, 2011 to Laura Engel ( and Elaine McGirr (