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"Feeling and sense beyond all seeming" : private lines, public relations and the performances of the LeFanu circle

Fitzer, Anna M.


Dr Anna Fitzer
Senior Lecturer in 18th-Century Literature and Admissions Tutor for English and Creative Writing


This article aims to give Alicia Sheridan some share of the limelight so far afforded Richard Brinsley and, more recently, their mother, Frances Sheridan. The article examines for the first time Alicia Sheridan's contribution to the enthusiasm for private theatricals which had developed in Dublin as much as it had England in the last decades of the eighteenth century, and her example presents further opportunity to reflect upon both the circumstances of and motivations behind such a movement. Secondly, in giving some thought to the performances in which Alicia Sheridan's circle engaged, the article addresses the appeal of the private theatre to the female sex for whom, as poor overburdened Thomas Sheridan could testify, a state of independence was sometimes disappointingly elusive. In conclusion, the article moves to another kind of private theatrical performance as depicted in the novel Helen Monteagle by Alicia Sheridan's niece (and namesake), the novelist, Alicia LeFanu. Here the potential of actual private theatricals for the exploration of female subjectivity is treated more knowingly in the novel; the significance of private theatre revised, as it were, in the hands of an aspiringly independent, professional woman writer whose later career was proof enough that she was utterly qualified to do something for herself.


Fitzer, A. M. (2011). "Feeling and sense beyond all seeming" : private lines, public relations and the performances of the LeFanu circle. Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film, 38(2), 26-37. doi:10.7227/nctf.38.2.5

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2011-11
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Journal Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film
Print ISSN 1748-3727
Electronic ISSN 2048-2906
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 2
Pages 26-37
Public URL
Publisher URL