"That the author succeeds so well in engaging the reader throughout this well-researched and highly readable study is a hallmark of its success. [T]his is a very personal book, which, in communicating the author's passion for his material, incites in the reader a desire to read the burlesques with a respect for their wit and power, and-by reflection-to examine carefully his or her stance toward any sacred masterwork of dramatic literature." Christopher J. Markle, Northern Illinois University, Theatre Journal
Burlesque has been a powerful and enduring weapon in the critique of legitimate Shakespearean culture by a seemingly illegitimate popular culture. This was true most of all in the nineteenth century. Richard Schoch, in the first study of nineteenth-century Shakespeare burlesques, explores the paradox that plays which are manifestly not Shakespeare purport to be the most genuinely Shakespearean of all. The book brings together archival research, rare photographs and illustrations, close readings of burlesque scripts, and an awareness of theatrical, literary, and cultural contexts.