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Male Impersonation in the Music Hall, The Case of Vesta Tilley

Aston, Elaine (1988) Male Impersonation in the Music Hall, The Case of Vesta Tilley. New Theatre Quarterly, 4 (15). pp. 247-257. ISSN 0266-464X

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    Abstract

    Music hall has only recently been treated to ‘serious’ as distinct from anecdotal study, and the ‘turns’ of its leading performers remain largely unexplored. Particularly revealing, perhaps, are the acts of the male impersonators – whose ancestry in ‘legit’ performance had been a long one, yet whose particular approach to cross-dressing had a special social and sexual significance during the ascendancy of music hall, with its curious mixture of working-class directness, commercial knowingness, and ‘pre-Freudian innocence’. The most successful of the male impersonators was Vesta Tilley, whose various disguises, the nature of their hidden appeal, and the ‘messages’ they delivered are here analyzed by Elaine Aston.

    Item Type: Article
    Journal or Publication Title: New Theatre Quarterly
    Additional Information: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=NTQ The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, New Theatre Quarterly, 4 (15), pp 247-257 1988, © 1988 Cambridge University Press.
    Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
    Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts
    ID Code: 54725
    Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
    Deposited On: 30 May 2012 11:06
    Refereed?: Yes
    Published?: Published
    Last Modified: 09 Apr 2014 23:35
    Identification Number:
    URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/54725

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