Print Drama, Live Drama, and the Socialist Theatrical Turn
This chapter examines the domain of the theater and the radical investment in the dramatic revival of the 1890s. To many socialists the theater appeared to offer an oral, live, mutual experience, one that was less mass oriented but more communal than print. Radical efforts to develop a theatrical counterpublic, however, were intensely reliant on the radical print community; in this sense, frustration with the political inadequacies of print media actually generated new points of contact between radical print and radical theater. Henrik Ibsen's plays Ghosts and A Doll's House were key texts in fomenting the radical turn to theater, and both were championed in the radical press. Theater for late Victorian radicals suggested the possibility of fusing together artistic and political purpose, yet theater developed within the movement as a mode of containment against the outsized anonymous public being newly formed by means of mass print.
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