Time and the visual sense were two essential preoccupations of the Victorians, and both were central to their presentations of Shakespeare's plays. In this extensive new study, Stuart Sillars examines multiple facets of this complex relationship. The desire for authenticity in production, in the work of Charles Kean and his followers, leads to elaborate sets that define and direct the performances' movement through time. Visual artists of all kinds fracture and extend the plays' movements, the Pre-Raphaelites through new techniques and approaches, illustrators through new forms of engraving and printing, and photographers through the emerging forms of the medium. The book also considers the multiple forms in which performances were recorded and re-created visually, and absorbed into the memories of their viewers. With many previously unpublished images, it draws together multiple fields to offer a new perspective on one of the most productive and various periods of Shakespeare activity.
Stuart Sillars is Professor of English at the Universities of Bergen and Agder, Norway. He has written extensively on literature and the visual arts, and his most recent books are Painting Shakespeare: The Artist as Critic, 1720-1820 (2006) and The Illustrated Shakespeare, 1709-1875 (2008), both published by Cambridge University Press. Earlier books have explored visual and literary art in the two world wars, illustration and the Victorian novel and the special forms of irony involved in English writing of the early twentieth century.
1. History, theatre and Shakespeare; 2. Dress, attribute and image; 3. Pre-Raphaelite Meridian; 4. Charles Kean, staging and time; 5. Memorialising performance; 6. Ars et Veritas: photography and the Victorian stage; 7. Fragmentation, excision and dispersal; 8. Painting beyond Pre-Raphaelitism; 9. Later stagings and the debate with painting; 10. Encounters and memories; Select bibliography.