Abstract / Excerpt
For years the best black Shakespeare performers in America were itinerant “readers” or elocutionists. Denied access to white-dominated theatrical venues and refusing the minstrel stage, they traveled the country, usually alone, reciting key speeches and scenes from Shakespeare's works in school auditoriums, church halls and the occasional rented venue. Little is known about their audience's experiences of Shakespeare (which was often performed with other authors like Paul Laurence Dunbar). This essay experiments with using the author's personal history to interpret an anecdote from actor Richard Berry Harrison's unpublished memoir in which he recounts Frederick Douglass performing scenes from Shakespeare's Othello.
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On Yearning: Reading Itinerant Shakespeare | Journal of American Studies | Cambridge Core
On Yearning: Reading Itinerant Shakespeare - Volume 54 Issue 1