cover of book

Junius Brutus Booth: Theatrical Prometheus
by Stephen M. Archer
Southern Illinois University Press, 1992
eISBN: 978-0-8093-8592-8 | Paper: 978-0-8093-3000-3 | Cloth: 978-0-8093-1766-0
Library of Congress Classification PN2287.B6A88 2010
Dewey Decimal Classification 792.028092


In this, the first thoroughly researched scholarly biography of British actor Junius Brutus Booth, Stephen M. Archer reveals Booth to have been an artist of considerable range and a man of sensitivity and intellect. Archer provides a clear account of Booth’s professional and personal life and places him in relationship to his contemporaries, particularly Edmund Kean and William Charles Macready.

From 1817 to 1852 Junius Brutus Booth toured throughout North America, enjoying a reputation as the most distinguished Shakespearean tragedian on the American continent. Still, he yearned for success on the British stage, a goal he never attained. His public image as a drunken, dangerous lunatic obscured a private life filled with the richness of a close and loyal family.

The worldwide fame assured for the Booth family of actors by John Wilkes Booth’s bone-shattering leap from the President’s box had eluded Junius Brutus Booth throughout his lifelong exile in America. But from that event until today, no American family of actors has stimulated such scrutiny as the Booths.

Eight years of research, pursuing Booth from Amsterdam to San Francisco, has resulted in an accurate, fascinating narrative that both records and illuminates the actor’s life.
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