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Theatric RevolutionDrama, Censorship, and Romantic Period Subcultures 1773-1832$
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David Worrall

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276752

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276752.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 December 2021

Political Dramas: Harlequin Negro and Plots and Placemen

Political Dramas: Harlequin Negro and Plots and Placemen

(p.274) 8 Political Dramas: Harlequin Negro and Plots and Placemen
Theatric Revolution

David Worrall (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the links between political activism and theatricality. James Powell was a would-be playwright and Government ‘mole’ who had penetrated the London Corresponding Society (LCS). Powell betrayed Spencean LCS activists in 1798 (with their links to United Irish) and fled to Hamburg, not returning until Colonel Despard’s execution. With links to London’s chief spymaster, Powell’s Venetian Outlaw, His Country’s Friend was produced at Drury Lane (allegedly plagiarized), a work projecting the psychology of his own position as turncoat. He devised a pantomime, Harlequin Negro, in the abolition year of 1807. The chapter also analyzes Plots and Placeman, an unperformed drama written by Spencean activists, revealing how drama had become an optimum vehicle for political expression. Related to the 1817 Suspension of Habeas Corpus, it figures one of its revolutionary heroes as a poet, confirming that drama was a branch of radical activism and not a substitute for it.

Keywords:   Negro, Spenceans, Abolition, 1807, pantomime, radicalism

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