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Sensation Drama, 18601880An Anthology$
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Joanna Hofer-Robinson and Beth Palmer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474439534

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474439534.001.0001

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date: 13 June 2021

Never Too Late to Mend

Never Too Late to Mend

A Drama of Real Life

Chapter:
(p.3) Never Too Late to Mend1
Source:
Sensation Drama, 18601880
Author(s):
Joanna Hofer-Robinson, Beth Palmer
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474439534.003.0001

The first play in the anthology is C. H. Hazlewood’s Never Too Late to Mend, which was first staged at the Royal Marylebone Theatre in 1859, and published in Lacy’s Acting Edition of Plays, Vol. 2in the same year. In both its style of representation and its production history, Hazlewood’s drama squarely locates illegitimate melodrama at the root of sensation drama. Further, it is part of an established theatrical culture in which adaptation can be indistinguishable from piracy. The play is based on Charles Reade’s 1856 novel, which was itself adapted from Reade’s dramaGold. Reade would himself re-adapt his novel for the stage in 1865; however, Reade’s play was preceded by adaptations for London’s Surrey, Britannia, Marylebone and Grecian theatres, variations between which are detailed in the notes. Shocked reaction to Reade’s 1865 drama in fact built on the success of productions at less reputable theatres. Therefore, one reason for including Hazlewood’s version in this anthology (rather than Reade’s) was to reinforce how important this astonishingly productive dramatist is to histories of mid-nineteenth century theatre, and to help to make his expansive oeuvre more accessible.

Keywords:   Adaptation, East End theatre, Melodrama, C. H. Hazlewood, Charles Reade, Minor theatres, Illegitimate

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