I’ve spent much of this week reading Fallen Women plays, from the 1890s – think Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Second Mrs. Tanqueray, if those mean anything. In fact, they all seem to have a woman’s name in the title. The Notorious Mrs. Ebbsmith by Arthur Wing Pinero; Mrs. Warren’s Profession by George Bernard Shaw; Mrs. Dane’s Defence by Henry Arthur Jones. I’ve been enjoying reading them, and not least the reviews – some of which splutter about the indecency of the plays and how they’d never take their daughters to see them, some use such charming phrases as ‘squalid-souled, feverish-brained harlot’. (The picture is Mrs. Patrick Campbell, who made rather a name for herself in portraying fallen women all over the place).
All this for my drama paper, you realise, not a strange literary obsession.
Just to let you know that it could be a while before I write here again – from tomorrow I’m off on my church’s student weekend. And next week I might not see the light of day… I have an extraordinary amount of work to do for my dissertation supervisor. Quite astonishing. Wish me luck!