By Barbara Wallace Grossman
As soon as known as "America's maximum actress," popular for the fervour and tool of her performances, Clara Morris (1847-1925) has been principally forgotten. A Spectacle of soreness: Clara Morris at the American level is the 1st full-length learn of the actress's value as a feminist within the past due 19th and early 20th centuries. Detailing her daunting illnesses and the altering tastes in leisure that ended in her retirement from the degree, Barbara Wallace Grossman explores Morris's dramatic reinvention as an writer. in the course of a moment strong occupation, she released 1000s of newspaper and journal articles and 9 books—six works of fiction and 3 memoirs. Grossman attracts at the fifty-four-volume diary that Morris stored from 1868 until eventually 1924, in addition to at the manuscript fragments and notes of journalist George T. MacAdam, who died in 1929 sooner than finishing the actress's biography. Grossman offers a dramatic account of Morris's existence and paintings from her bothered early years, via an unsatisfied marriage, morphine habit, and invalidism, to the demanding situations of traveling, the decline of her inventive popularity, and the calls for of the writing occupation she pursued so tenaciously. A Spectacle of ache unearths how Morris, even after experiencing blindness and the lack of her domestic, livelihood, and family members, didn't succumb to melancholy and located convenience within the small pleasures of her circumscribed existence. A Spectacle of agony recovers an incredible determine in American theatre and guarantees that Morris could be remembered now not easily as an actress yet as a revered author and loved public determine, famous for her braveness in facing adversity. The booklet, that's greater via twenty-four illustrations, is the single released biography of Clara Morris. it truly is as a lot a tribute to the ability of the human spirit because it is an efficient technique of exploring American theatre and society within the Gilded Age.
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Additional info for A Spectacle of Suffering: Clara Morris on the American Stage
On 21 January 1873, an ebullient Morris wrote, “Greatest success of my life—6 calls. Mr. Daly led me out after the last act. House packed. My reception an ovation. ” The following day she noted proudly, “Every paper has something nice about Alixe. ”18 Critics considered it her best work to date. As a chaste, virtuous, self-sacrificing victim, she embodied one of the period’s favorite stereotypes, and reviewers were lavish in their praise. ” The New York Tribune found her portrayal “fresh in its beauty, intense in its emotion, .
Notwithstanding Nevada Proctor’s insistence that she had never heard of any Morris siblings, MacAdam returned to the diary. The 1891 volume contained a striking entry, written when Morris was performing in Buffalo, New York. ” She did not comment further but wrote instead about financial matters: “A gentleman from [Erie] Savings Bank called for information about Eliza Burt, I could give none—Her account will expire unclaimed shortly by limitation of the law and I—or mother—am the natural heir. .
Neither Lamontagne nor Lamontaigne appears in subsequent editions of the directory for the next several years. As MacAdam learned in 1926, moreover, the office of what was then called the Ontario Registrar General did not begin civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths until July 1869. At that time, religious leaders and civic officials were asked to forward copies of their old records, but few actually responded. Consequently, there is no record of the marriage of Charles Lamontagne and Sarah Jane Proctor, nor is there a birth certificate for their daughter, Clara (or for any other children).
A Spectacle of Suffering: Clara Morris on the American Stage by Barbara Wallace Grossman