Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Literary Criticism English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh

Staging Governance

Theatrical Imperialism in London, 1770-1800

by (author) Daniel O'Quinn

Johns Hopkins University Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2005
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Imperialism, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2005
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Between 1770 and 1800, transformations in the relationship between metropolitan British society and its colonial holdings, and in the concept of the nation itself, left Britons with a new sense of themselves. Over the same period, the consolidation of the middle classes was accompanied by growing social constraints on sexuality and family life. Staging Governance locates the intersection of these two trends in the representation of British India on the London stage. Theatrical productions, especially those representing colonial life, pushed the limits of public discourse on sexuality and colonialism even as the government made efforts to shape and narrow them. At the same time, official discourse on colonial practices, such as the public trials of Clive and Hastings, became theatrical events themselves.

Exploring this rapidly shifting world through a series of original readings of dramatic texts and important moments of oratory, Staging Governance demonstrates how the perceived crises of imperial and domestic Britain joined these spheres in the popular imagination. The economics of political and sexual exchange not only became entwined but functioned as mutual supports during a period of social, cultural, and political readjustment.

About the author

Daniel O'Quinn is an associate professor in the School of Literatures and Performance Studies in English at the University of Guelph, Ontario.

Daniel O'Quinn's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"The book as a whole is an impressive scholarly achievement and a major contribution to the fields of romantic theatre and imperial studies."

Theatre Research International

"O'Quinn's book is one of great importance and significant innovation. His understanding of the situated nature and ideological function of performance is excellent."

Huntington Library Quarterly

"O'Quinn's focus... is refreshing."

Studies in English Literature

"Groundbreaking, informative, and penetrating, and it [Staging Governance: Theatrical Imperialism in London, 1770–1800] offers significant new information about the role of the theater in late eighteenth-century debates about the Asian colonies and English government."

Eighteenth-Century Life

"A sophisticated exposition... useful and stimulating."

1650-1850: Ideas, Esthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era

"An ambitious and compelling book, notable for its command of divergent fields and discourses, its careful readings, and its theoretical reach."

Comparative Drama

"An ambitious and important book."

Studies in Romanticism

Other titles by Daniel O'Quinn