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The Soul of PleasureSentiment and Sensation in Nineteenth-Century American Mass Entertainment$
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David Monod

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702389

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702389.001.0001

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Enter Sentimentality

Enter Sentimentality

The Origins of the Entertainment Revolution

Chapter:
(p.14) Chapter 1 Enter Sentimentality
Source:
The Soul of Pleasure
Author(s):

David Monod

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501702389.003.0002

This chapter explains why running an American theatre was a risky business in the first decades of the nineteenth century. According to a German tourist in 1837, “the fault lies not so much with the managers as with the public itself. The Americans are not fond of any kind of public amusement…their evenings are either spent at home or with a few of their friends, in a manner as private as possible.” Two conditions had to be met for the theatre to place itself on a firm footing. First, the cultural space for its development had to open, and this required a shift in values and tastes. Second, theatre professionals needed to occupy that space and find ways of enlarging it.

Keywords:   American theatre, cultural space, theatre professionals, public amusement, theatre

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