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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

(p.14) Chapter 1 Enter Sentimentality
The Soul of Pleasure

David Monod

Cornell University Press

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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