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Junius Brutus Booth: Theatrical Prometheus Paperback – August 20, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0809330003 ISBN-10: 0809330008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press (August 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809330008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809330003
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,502,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"If Edmund Kean had been a theatrical Zeus, inventing the fiery passion of romantic acting, Booth functioned in this nation as a Prometheus, spreading the flame far and wide across North America."—Stephen M. Archer, from the Coda
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Stephen M. Archer is a professor of theatre at the University of Missouri. He is the author of numerous articles about Booth as well as How Theatre Happens and American Actors and Actresses: A Guide to Information Sources.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By krebsman VINE VOICE on January 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Junius Brutus Booth is largely forgotten today, even by theatre professionals. Of those who do recognize his name, most would identify him as the father of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth and Shakespearean actor, Edwin Booth. However, Junius Brutus Booth was probably the first great American actor, even though he never became an American citizen. Born the son of a London silversmith, he became stage struck as a teenager and by his early twenties was playing major roles in Shakespeare. But in London, Booth was considered a mere imitator of Edmund Keane. Seeking to increase his reputation and make money, Booth, at age twenty-five, sailed for America in June of 1821. He had also just committed bigamy and took with him his second wife, abandoning his Belgian wife and their son. (There would be later repercussions from this action.) Booth proved a success in America, earning far more there than he ever commanded in Britain. He bought a farm in Maryland and sired nine more children as he toured the then young nation, thrilling audiences from New Orleans to Nova Scotia, and later San Francisco. Booth however was either mentally unstable or an incorrigible alcoholic (perhaps both), leaving a record of eccentric and erratic behavior everywhere he played. He gave some great performances and some puzzlingly bizarre ones.

Years ago I read Eleanor Ruggles' biography of Edwin Booth, PRINCE OF PLAYERS. In that book Junius Brutus Booth comes across as a roaring larger-than-life figure. Archer presents the elder Booth on a more human scale, showing his pain and disappointments, as well as his triumphs. He also offers a critical assessment of Booth's work, based on contemporary accounts and manages to provide some insight into Booth's stardom.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mark R. Brewer on January 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent biography of a good and gracious man who was very skilled at his craft. He seems to have been a good husband, at least to his second wife, and a good father to all but the one child he had with his first wife. Mr. Booth, as he was universally called, spent much of his adult life on the road performing, and most of the book is spent on the road with him. I wanted to know more about his home life, but his family are very much in the background in this biography. There probably just isn't that much information available about his family life. He certainly seemed to enjoy it when he was there, and longed to be at home when he was on the road. Mr. Booth had his own mental problems, but unlike his son John, he was not a violent man. Indeed, he so disliked killing anything that he was a vegetarian for all of his adult life. The book is well-written, and one will come to know the father of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth quite well. For anyone with an interest in the Booths or in the history of the theater in both the U.S. and England, this book will prove very satisfying.
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By mary on February 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written with tons of information about Junius Brutus. A great buy for Fans of the Booth family history era.
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