Irish on the Move

Performing Mobility in American Variety Theatre


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2019
Available: 
December, 2019
288 pages, 15 b&w figures, 6 × 9 inches
Paper: 
$90.00
9781609386696
eBook, perpetual ownership: 
$90.00
9781609386702

“While much has been written previously about some of the variety theatre that Granshaw explores, no one has done what she has done. She is introducing a revelatory new voice to the literature, one that expands previous understandings of antebellum theatre and performance and at the same time contributes to contemporary research in the humanities about power and migration.”—Elizabeth Reitz Mullenix, Miami University

“Granshaw’s new book is an imaginative, incisive examination of Irish American mobility in popular theatre, showing how popular culture and revolutionary politics shaped each other.”—M. Alison Kibler, author, Censoring Racial Ridicule: Irish, Jewish, and African American Struggles over Race and Representation

“Both timely and relevant, Irish on the Move is an important contribution to theatre historiography, but the book will also interest readers seeking to understand the historical roots of nationalist, anti-immigrant, white supremacist discourse in the contemporary United States.”—Amy E. Hughes, author, Spectacles of Reform: Theater and Activism in Nineteenth-Century America

“In Irish on the Move, the journey of the immigrant to claim the right to be here, which is resisted by the dominant culture, results in a kind of dance that changes both the immigrant and the local population. Granshaw’s research is impressive and this book makes an important contribution to Irish American history.”—Tice Miller, author, Entertaining the Nation: American Drama in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries 

Irish on the Move shows how the acts of stage tramps, variety shows, and even competitive pedestrians shaped the lives and perceptions of America’s mobile and networked Irish, while contributing to America’s distinctive theatre culture.”—Peter P. Reed, author, Rogue Performances: Staging the Underclasses in Early American Theatre Culture

A little over a century ago, the Irish in America were the targets of intense xenophobic anxiety. Much of that anxiety centered on their mobility, whether that was traveling across the ocean to the U.S., searching for employment in urban centers, mixing with other ethnic groups, or forming communities of their own. Granshaw argues that American variety theatre, a precursor to vaudeville, was a crucial battleground for these anxieties, as it appealed to both the fears and the fantasies that accompanied the rapid economic and social changes of the Gilded Age.

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