By Barbara Wallace Grossman
As soon as known as "America's maximum actress," popular for the fervour and gear of her performances, Clara Morris (1847-1925) has been mostly forgotten. A Spectacle of discomfort: Clara Morris at the American level is the 1st full-length examine of the actress's significance as a feminist within the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries. Detailing her daunting illnesses and the altering tastes in leisure that ended in her retirement from the level, Barbara Wallace Grossman explores Morris's dramatic reinvention as an writer. in the course of a moment strong profession, she released hundreds of thousands of newspaper and journal articles and 9 books—six works of fiction and 3 memoirs. Grossman attracts at the fifty-four-volume diary that Morris stored from 1868 till 1924, in addition to at the manuscript fragments and notes of journalist George T. MacAdam, who died in 1929 sooner than finishing the actress's biography. Grossman presents a dramatic account of Morris's existence and paintings from her early years, via an unsatisfied marriage, morphine habit, and invalidism, to the demanding situations of traveling, the decline of her inventive attractiveness, and the calls for of the writing profession she pursued so tenaciously. A Spectacle of affliction finds how Morris, even after experiencing blindness and the lack of her domestic, livelihood, and kin, didn't succumb to melancholy and located convenience within the small pleasures of her circumscribed existence. A Spectacle of soreness recovers an immense determine in American theatre and guarantees that Morris may be remembered no longer easily as an actress yet as a revered author and liked public determine, trendy for her braveness in facing adversity. The e-book, that is stronger by way of twenty-four illustrations, is the single released biography of Clara Morris. it really is as a lot a tribute to the facility of the human spirit because it is an efficient technique of exploring American theatre and society within the Gilded Age.
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Extra info for A Spectacle of Suffering: Clara Morris on the American Stage
39 The most macabre is “The Gentleman Who Was Going to Die” in which the adult narrator recalls her friendship with little “golden-haired” Charley. Son of the local sheriff, Charley lives at the jail where he and Carrie play. One inmate, a convicted murderer, horrifies and fascinates them. He tells them stories and strokes Carrie’s braids through the bars of his cell. Having attempted suicide by slashing his throat, he requests a final visit with the children before his execution. Although the sight of his “ghastly face” frightens them, they approach his 30 The Making of an Emotional Actress bed.
When her mother balked at leaving her daughter behind, the Mormon elders promised they would stop for Selina, although they had no intention of doing so. ” Her only recourse is to remain a servant. She returns to her position with Mrs. Humphries—the name of Sara Jane’s first employer—and stays for several years. Overworked and underpaid, she is spared the brutal treatment Morris’s mother received. 14 Sarah Jane’s memoir does not deal with this traumatic episode, but Nevada Proctor’s letter confirms it.
Alixe’s “perfect innocence,” so unlike Cora’s “tigerish” power, demanded a different approach. The choices she had made for Article 47 would not work in this play, and she feared that she would not be able to portray Alixe believably. After considering such possible models as Ophelia, she had an epiphany: “Innocence is alike the world over, I thought; it only differs in degrees. I sprang to my feet! I cried joyously: ‘ . . I won’t act at all! ’”16 At first glance, these words are puzzling. Because everything Morris did on stage was, by definition, acting, what could the decision not to act possibly mean?
A Spectacle of Suffering: Clara Morris on the American Stage by Barbara Wallace Grossman