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
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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 (

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