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Charles Dibdin and Late Georgian Culture$
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Oskar Cox Jensen, David Kennerley, and Ian Newman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198812425

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198812425.001.0001

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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: 30 November 2021

‘Mungo Here, Mungo There’

‘Mungo Here, Mungo There’

Charles Dibdin and Racial Performance

(p.23) 2 ‘Mungo Here, Mungo There’
Charles Dibdin and Late Georgian Culture

Felicity Nussbaum

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a definitive account of one of Dibdin’s best-known works, The Padlock, which has long been recognized as an important landmark in the representation of black characters in eighteenth-century theatre. The Padlock is most frequently associated with the librettist Isaac Bickerstaff, but this chapter redirects attention to the interaction of Bickerstaff’s words with Dibdin’s music, and to Dibdin’s celebrated performances as Mungo in one of the first comic plays to feature a major character in blackface on the British stage. Placing Mungo in the context of Dibdin’s numerous depictions of racial others (both Black and Oriental), the author argues that Dibdin’s racial performances reflect tensions surrounding slavery, social class, and imperial expansion, but remain stubbornly equivocal about these tensions as they turn captivity, servitude, and chattel slavery into the subject of comedy.

Keywords:   blackface, Oriental, Padlock, burletta, lyrics, Mungo, race, slavery, abolitionism, empire

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