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Gilbert and SullivanA Dual Biography$
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Michael Ainger

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195147698

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195147698.001.0001

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1836–1853 Gilbert: A Dramatic Childhood; Sullivan: A Musical Background

1836–1853 Gilbert: A Dramatic Childhood; Sullivan: A Musical Background

(p.12) (p.13) CHAPTER ONE 1836–1853 Gilbert: A Dramatic Childhood; Sullivan: A Musical Background
Gilbert and Sullivan

Michael Ainger

Oxford University Press

William Gilbert gave two short accounts of autobiography to magazines: one to The Theatre in 1883 and another to the Strand in 1893. They are pithy and amusing, and their similarity suggests an often-told tale. The early part, concerning his beginnings, is quickly passed over in what turns out to be a series of little smokescreens. Thomas Sullivan had received his basic training in music in the band at the Royal Asylum, where he had shown genuine talent, and now, as a bandsman in the army, was entering in a humble but very real way on his own musical career. Thomas was befriended by the Coghlan family and came to know them well, especially the girl he was later to marry, Mary Clementina Coghlan. When he was 29, after 14 years in the army, Thomas Sullivan left on December 31, 1834 to begin life as a civilian.

Keywords:   William Gilbert, autobiography, magazines, The Theatre, Strand, Thomas Sullivan, music, Royal Asylum, army, Mary Clementina Coghlan

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