Deirdre McFeely presents the first book-length critical study of Dion Boucicault, placing his Irish plays in the context of his overall career. The book undertakes a detailed examination of the reception of the plays in the New York-London-Dublin theatre triangle which Boucicault inhabited. Interpreting theatre history as a sociocultural phenomenon that closely approximates social history, McFeely examines the different social and political worlds in which the plays were produced, demonstrating that the complex politics of reception of the plays cannot be separated from the social and political implications of colonialism at that time. The study argues for a shift in focus from the politics of the plays, and their author, to the politics of the auditorium and the press, or the politics of reception. It is within that complex and shifting field of stage, theatre and public media that Boucicault's performance as playwright, actor and publicist is interpreted.

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