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The Stage Career of Cicely Hamilton (1895–1914)


Seán Moran

Drawing on recently released or previously neglected archive material, this book is the first dedicated to the stage career of Cicely Hamilton (1872–1952). Best known for her work with the women’s suffrage movement, Hamilton was at the same time deeply committed to the commercial stage as an actress, dramatist and activist. The book draws extensively on Hamilton’s own recollections as well as those of her close associates, supplemented by contemporary press reviews and articles, and concludes with a chronology of the productions in which she performed as a touring actress based on confirmed dates and venues.

This book «(…) is a fascinating and fantastic resource for current and future scholars of Hamilton’s work, as well as those interested in the wider framework of (…) the theatre industry of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.»

Dr. Naomi Paxton (School of Advanced Study, University of London)

«With its documentation and assessment of Hamilton's touring career, (…) this well written and meticulously researched study provides an original contribution to theatre, dramatic, and reception history.»

Prof. Dr. Rudolf Weiss (University of Vienna)

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A page in a history for the use of students; a professor’s comments in a classroomlecture, a question or two in an examination paper – that is the form in which thegreat man survives, that is fame!

Cicely Hamilton, Full Stop.

Cicely Mary Hammill (1872–1952) was many things in a long life. Above all she was Cicely Hamilton, a name change she felt obliged to make on entering the acting profession some time around 1895. In this new persona, she acted on tour and in the West End; wrote dramas (including three for children) and seven novels, as well as romantic and detective fiction and a series of ten travel journals. She campaigned for women’s rights both before and after the First World War; she broadcast on the BBC; worked as a translator; contributed articles to an influential feminist periodical and to some of the most popular newspapers of her age. She worked as an administrator at a French Red Cross hospital between 1914 and 1917; led a theatre company that toured the Western Front, and through all this was a committed Christian. Yet despite this catalogue of achievements, she is best remembered for her activities as part of the women’s suffrage movement between 1908–1914.

For a writer most readily associated with the cause, she showed reservations over the significance of the vote which alienated her from many of her contemporaries. In fact, she took a fiercely individual stance on every...

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