The preface as stage: the theatrical trope and the performance of authorial identities in the nineteenth century

Geraldo Magela Cáffaro


This essay explores references to the theatre in prefaces by Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry James. Particular emphasis is given to the way these authors employ figures such as stage manager and dramatist to reach their audiences and project authorial images. The figures in question are historicized and discussed in light of the concepts identified by the terms performative and theatre of images and the argument proposed is that references to the theatre reveal tensions between self-display and self-concealment, as well as between the assertion of authority and its subversion and fragmentation in nineteenth-century prefatory writing.


Preface; Theatre; Authorship; Performance; Nineteenth Century

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