Actors and American Culture, 1880-1920
“A major contribution to the study of the American theater …thoroughly researched, well-documented, and illustrated …belongs in every library.”—Choice
“It is always a pleasure to review a book of this quality and importance
“It is always a pleasure to review a book of this quality and importance . . . and it is refreshing to see cultural history linked to such larger social changes as urbanization and the rise of mass media . . . a first-class job.”—Reviews in American History
“A serious, thoroughgoing study . . . cultural movements flow together as into a sort of tide, floating the actor up in the mind of the public until the pinnacle of the American Dream is reached.”—Times Literary Supplement
“This is an admirable book for several reasons. Chief among them is Benjamin McArthur’s fidelity to his purpose: to trace and document the actor’s changing position in American culture during the forty years from 1880 to 1920. . . . In fulfilling his purpose, McArthur cites much unusual information not found in standard histories of the theater.”—American Historical Review
A Choice Outstanding Academic Book
The forty years from 1880 to 1920 marked the golden age of the American theatre as a national institution, a time when actors moved from being players outside the boundaries of respectable society to being significant figures in the social landscape. As the only book that provides an overview of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century theatre, Actors and American Culture is also the only study of the legitimate stage that overtly attempts to connect actors and their work to the wider aspects of American life.