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Scenes from Bourgeois Life
by Nicholas Ridout
University of Michigan Press
eISBN: 978-0-472-12688-0 | Cloth: 978-0-472-13200-3

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
Scenes from Bourgeois Life proposes that theatre spectatorship has made a significant contribution to the historical development of a distinctive bourgeois sensibility, characterized by the cultivation of distance. In Nicholas Ridout’s formulation, this distance is produced and maintained at two different scales. First is the distance of the colonial relation, not just in miles between Jamaica and London, but also the social, economic, and psychological distances involved in that relation. The second is the distance of spectatorship, not only of the modern theatregoer as consumer, but the larger and pervasive disposition to observe, comment, and sit in judgment, which becomes characteristic of the bourgeois relation to the rest of the world. This engagingly written study of history, class, and spectatorship offers compelling proof of “why theater matters,” and demonstrates the importance of examining the question historically.  

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