As the author acknowledges at the start, Anna Cora Mowatt was ""not the greatest actress of her day"" but she did influence...

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ACTRESS IN SPITE OF HERSELF: The Life of Anna Cora Mowatt

As the author acknowledges at the start, Anna Cora Mowatt was ""not the greatest actress of her day"" but she did influence social attitudes toward the theatre and she is a person who will interest teenage girls. She belonged to one of the most esteemed, socially prominent families in New York, and although she enjoyed participating in home theatricals, it was a time when actresses were not considered respectable and the theatre was a slightly immoral taste. Her introduction to the stage began when she was twenty-one and she decided to help her husband with his financial problems by giving public poetry readings, a new art which she made very popular. In 1845 she wrote a very successful play, the first American social satire and the first play to turn ""the educated and respectable"" into theatre-goers. Shortly after it opened, agreed to make a stage appearance--as a leading lady, of course, because of her social position--and she was good enough to be recognized as a star both in America and abroad. This biography gives a detailed view of her life from her teens until her death and the writing indicates close attention to Mrs. Mowatt's autobiography and family documents. It also offers a close scrutiny of nineteenth century theatre in America.

Pub Date: April 19, 1966

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Funk & Wagnalls

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1966