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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Susan Valladares

Valladares, Susan (2018). ‘“All the world’s a stage & all the men are merely players” Theatre-going in London during the Hundred Days’. In Napoleon’s 100 Days and the Struggle for Legitimacy. Astbury, Kate & Philp, Mark Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. 185-208.

Author(s) from Durham


This essay seeks to situate the Hundred Days within the context of English popular culture by offering an examination of the plays staged at the patent theatres of Covent Garden and Drury Lane during Napoleon’s return to power. As sites closely monitored by the Office of the Lord Chamberlain, Covent Garden and Drury Lane represented venues wherein popular reactions, rarely straightforwardly and often uneasily, were kept in check by the state. This essay examines how these theatres’ repertoires engaged with Napoleon’s return to France; whether questions of political order, security, and legitimacy were acknowledged and addressed; and what Edmund Kean’s early career might reveal about the political purchase of theatre-going during this period.