Saturday, October 19, 2013, 10:30 AM
Join other reading enthusiasts this fall for lively discussions of books that connect to the historical actors and performances portrayed in the Thomas Sully: Painted Performance exhibition.
October 19: Fanny Kemble: A Performed Life by Deirdre David
November 16: Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
Charismatic, highly intelligent, and splendidly talented, Fanny Kemble (1809–93) was a Victorian celebrity. She was known on both sides of the Atlantic as an actress and member of the famous Kemble theatrical dynasty; as a fierce opponent of slavery despite her marriage to a wealthy slave owner; as a brilliantly successful solo performer of Shakespeare; and as the author of journals about her career and life on her husband's Georgia plantations. She was, in her own words, irresistible as a "woman who has sat at dinner alongside Byron...and who calls Tennyson, Alfred."
In the various roles she performed in her life, onstage and off—abolitionist, author, estranged wife—Kemble remained highly theatrical, appropriating and subverting nineteenth-century prescriptions for women's lives, ever rewriting the roles to which she was assigned by society and inheritance.
Free with Museum admission