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Shakespeare's Women and the Fin de Siècle$
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Sophie Duncan

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198790846

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198790846.001.0001

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The Lily, the Matron, and Rosalind

The Lily, the Matron, and Rosalind

Chapter:
(p.18) 1 The Lily, the Matron, and Rosalind
Source:
Shakespeare's Women and the Fin de Siècle
Author(s):

Sophie Duncan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198790846.003.0002

This chapter examines how the role of Rosalind (As You Like It) underlined the self-promotional strategies of two little-studied actresses: Madge Kendal and Lillie Langtry. As well as exemplifying Kendal’s skilful deployment of her married reputation, built around her wedding-day performance as Rosalind, Kendal’s Rosalind’s evolution in the public consciousness (1869–85) demonstrates the problems of an actress’s age and sexual ‘knowingness’ in performance. The Victorian bride emerges as a liminal figure on the stage. Simultaneously, Langtry’s genesis as a performer challenged the ‘aristocracy of labour’ defined by theatrical families, while the two women’s fraught professional relationship illustrated the changing nature of theatrical celebrity.

Keywords:   Madge Kendal, Lillie Langtry, Rosalind, As You Like It, marriage, celebrity, knowledge, age, liminality, self promotion

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