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Acts of Desire – Women and Sex on Stage 1800-1930 - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Acts of Desire: Women and Sex on Stage 1800-1930

Sos Eltis


From seduced maidens to adulterous wives, bigamists, courtesans, kept women, and streetwalkers, the so-called ‘fallen woman’ was a ubiquitous and enduring figure on the Victorian and Edwardian stage. Acts of Desire traces the theatrical representation of illicit female sexuality from early nineteenth-century melodramas, through sensation dramas, Ibsenite sex-problem plays, and suffrage dramas, to early social realism and the well-made plays of Pinero, Jones, Maugham, and Coward. This study reveals and analyses enduring plot lines and tropes that continue to influence contemporary theatre and f ... More

Keywords: gay theatre, aids, camille, cinema, plot, transgressive, desire, fallen, censorship

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199691357
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691357.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Sos Eltis, author
Fellow in English, Brasenose College, University of Oxford