An apology for the life of george anne bellamy: "a mingled yarn."
Dissell, Dorothy Gillette
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An Apology for the Life of George Anne Bellamy was chosen for this study because it is representative both of a group of eighteenth-century theatrical lives and of minor autobiography generally in the peak years of biographical writing and because it has been brought sharply to the fore as a work of intrinsic merit by a favorable appraisal in Donald A. Stauffer's Art of Biography in Eighteenth Century England (1941). The epistolary Apology, which recounts the adventures of Mrs. Bellamy through her years of success at Covent-Garden Theatre and through her decline into poverty and neglect, was published in 1785, gained immediate popularity, and appeared in four editions by 1786. Critics praised it highly, but its fame was short. It dropped into semi-obscurity and for a century and a half was considered interesting principally as a work of theatrical history. The assertion of Stauffer that the Apology is an important biography of its century has directed attention to it once more, challenging us to a re-evaluation of the work, both as theatrical history and as literary art. This paper aims to gather and relate information concerning the Apology's accomplishments in both these fields and to estimate its permanent value and significance. [Truncated]
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University.