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Dickensian Dramas : Plays from Charles Dickens - Book 1 (Hardcover)

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Dickens loved the stage: he enjoyed thousands of evenings in the theatre, longed to write for the stage and to perform himself, an ambition that he eventually satisfied by touring alone with his Readings. Victorian prejudice and his need to preserve his personal image kept him from openly becoming a stage professional earlier in his career, but all his work was informed by his dramatic imagination. He found ways of circumventing these taboos by seeking closer and closer contact over the staging of his work with dramatic writers, admired actors, and trusted theatre managements. This book presents, for the first time, fully edited texts of some of the plays which these tacit collaborations produced: dramatizations of Dickens's early novels (from The Pickwick Papers to Barnaby Rudge) and, especially, his Christmas books, which appeared almost annually between 1843 and 1848. Each of these, from A Christmas Carol onwards, was staged in London's new West End theatres simultaneously with the books' publications. Dickens sent proof sheets to his friends to "dramatize" work that was often already conceived for the stage, specifically for his actor friends, Bob and Mary Ann Keeley. This selection of plays that were created in this way, some previously unpublished, offers the first opportunity for modern scholars to consider not only an exciting body of translations to the stage made by the first generation of Dickensian adaptors, but also the influence of their work and of the performances they enabled upon the Dickens himself.

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