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John Russell Stephens, The Censorship of English Drama 1824-1901, Cambridge University Press, 2010.

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English stage censorship goes back to Tudor times, but only in the eighteenth century were the powers of the censor seriously organised. Further legislation in 1843 required theatre managers throughout Great Brtiain to present each script for the Lord Chamberlain’s scrutiny before a licence for public performance was granted. Originally published in 1980, this was the first study to make extensive use of the riches of the Lord Chamberlain’s files in the Public Record Office, which begins in 1824, and of the manuscript plays in the British Museum. Dramatic censorship is shown to be a significant index of the Victorian age ; but it was also an act of individuals. The author describes the censors as personalities and charts their success or failure in contriving to steer contemporary drama on a course determined, on the one hand, by the insistent demands of the public and, on the other, by their own liberal or illiberal prejudices. This book filled an important gap in the knowledge and understanding not only of Victorian theatre, but of contemporary manners and attitudes. (PDE)