A Crowded Stage: The Legitimate Borrowings of Henry M. Milner’s Mazeppa
Barnes, Lucy H.
Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film
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Barnes, L. H. (2016). A Crowded Stage: The Legitimate Borrowings of Henry M. Milner’s Mazeppa. Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film, 42 (1), 50-65. https://doi.org/10.1177/1748372715616795
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from SAGE via https://doi.org/10.1177/1748372715616795
In this article, I examine Henry M. Milner’s remarkably successful 1831 equestrian adaptation of Lord Byron’s poem, Mazeppa (1819). The play is not only an adaptation of Byron, since it also draws upon Shakespearean plays including Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth to realign Byron’s poem for a popular audience. Milner uses hippodramatic techniques, and allusions to Romeo and Macbeth, in order to transform Mazeppa’s story from a representation of isolated endurance to a portrayal of his social rise from page to prince. By paying careful attention to the dramatic inventiveness and cultural resonance of Milner’s use of hippodramatic effects and Shakespearean allusions to adapt Byron’s poem for the popular stage, I shall argue that this play challenges assumptions that nineteenth-century theatrical adaptations are purely derivative and lack merit. Rather, I suggest that the value of such adaptive work lies in its capacity to reveal broader cultural shifts within nineteenth-century theatre.
Mazeppa, Milner, adaptation, hippodrama, Byron, Shakespeare
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1748372715616795
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/252942
Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
Licence URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
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