Plays by Dion Boucicault

Front Cover
Peter Thomson
Cambridge University Press, Sep 6, 1984 - Literary Collections - 252 pages
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Five plays by this virtuoso of the theatre have been gathered in one volume and given scholarly attention. Dion Boucicault, the most popular dramatist of the second half of the nineteenth century, was also one of the most prolific and representative. Irish in origin, he worked and wrote in England and America where for twenty years he led the touring circuit. His plays reflect the different theatrical traditions, Irish, English and American, in which he was a crucial figure. Two plays are published here for the first time this century, Used Up and Jessie Brown. The Shaughraun and The Octoroon are outstanding examples of melodrama; Old Heads and Young Hearts is one of the few notable nineteenth-century comedies. Peter Thomson's introduction assesses Boucicault's place in the nineteenth century in both England and America, and shows that his work cannot be ignored by any serious student of drama.

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About the author (1984)

Dublin-born playwright of Huguenot extraction, Dion Boucicault (originally Boursiquot) attended University College in London and began his stage career as an actor in 1838. His first success as playwright came in 1841 with London Assurance. Thereafter, he wrote or adapted some 250 plays, including The Corsican Brothers (1852), The Poor of New York (1857), The Colleen Bawn, or, The Brides of Garryowen (1860), and The Shaughraun (1874), all extremely popular. Queen Victoria, for example, saw The Corsican Brothers four times. Boucicault was one of the premier playwrights of the Victorian period, although his career was distinguished by both great successes and devastating failures. Especially toward the end of his life, Boucicault's plays fell increasingly out of favor, as farce and romance became less fashionable and were replaced on the London stage by the realist dramas of such authors as George Bernard Shaw and Henrik Ibsen. In addition to his contributions to Victorian drama, Boucicault helped transform the business of the theater and the writing of plays in the nineteenth century by introducing such important innovations as royalties for playwrights and copyright for dramatists in the United States. Boucicault died in 1890.

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