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Is He a Dramatist? Or, Something Singular! Staging Dickensian Drama as Practice-Led Research

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Oskar Cox JensenORCiD, Dr Emma Whipday



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Sage Publications Ltd., 2017.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Charles Dickens is not usually remembered as a dramatist; in fact, the contemporary success of his subsequently neglected dramatic writing is predicated on the absence of the authorial persona that we now consider ‘Dickensian’. Drawing on findings from a practice-led research project, which staged Dickens’s burletta Is She His Wife? or, Something Singular!, this article examines what performing this play can tell us about Dickensian dramaturgy and nineteenth-century theatrical culture. Interrogating the role of practice-led research in the study of nineteenth-century drama, we suggest that this methodology allows contemporary scholars to look beyond Dickens’s contemporary significance as a canonised literary and heritage figure. Our historically informed production illuminates the ways in which Dickens used material properties, music, and performance strategies to stage-manage his own disappearing act as a playwright.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cox Jensen O, Robinson J, Whipday E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film

Year: 2017

Volume: 43

Issue: 2

Pages: 160-182

Print publication date: 01/11/2016

Online publication date: 16/05/2017

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

Date deposited: 27/11/2018

ISSN (print): 1748-3727

ISSN (electronic): 2048-2906

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/1748372716687317


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