Robinson, Written by Herself. Even in this first scene, she pushes her brother to become more aware of his own feelings by pretending to designs on the neighboring heiress. With Some Posthumous Pieces , Robinson reminisces about the lead- up to her theatrical debut in the part of Cordelia: As many scholars have documented, Mary Robinson—like Elizabeth Craven—was denied this unsullied fame; though Craven enacted this fantasy of celebrity at Brandenburg, neither she nor Robinson were immune to slander, despite their concerted efforts to fashion their own public personas. Within a closed scenic context, Craven thwarts audience expectations raised by the initial stage action of The Miniature Picture. This quasi-public domestic space was an elaborate simulation of the public stage, fitted with footlights, painted scenery, and stage machinery. In her Memoirs, Craven describes an incident on the road to Florence that expresses her desire to refuse being an object of male looking. Most compelling is Julia H. For example, while at the playhouse with her mother, an officer enters their box and the writer complains:
In her own memoir, Memoirs of the Late Mrs. I shall die at your poor disconcerted visage; ha, ha! Elizabeth Craven's The Miniature Picture Published by Scholar Commons, Though lacking the purchasing power of her titled counterpart, Mary Robinson likewise craved approbation and abhorred notoriety. Even in this first scene, she pushes her brother to become more aware of his own feelings by pretending to designs on the neighboring heiress. Elizabeth Craven's The Miniature Picture Published by Scholar Commons, focused play has much to recommend it as a case study beyond its adherence to this recognizable pattern. Like other Georgian women whose fame threatened to slip into infamy, Craven attempted to strategically manipulate her own celebrity with staged exposure on her own terms. Thus, she ended a period of continental exile after her separation from Lord Craven by buying Brandenburg House, a costly residence in Hammersmith where she constantly hosted visitors, many attracted by her private theatre. This absence immediately sets The Miniature Picture apart from the sentimental comedy, so often concerned with the reconciliation of romantic love and filial duty. Craven herself starred in several of the plays that she wrote and staged there. Instead of conforming to a sentimental female identity, she resists being conflated with her portrait—a one-dimensional representation of her beauty—even as she strives to regain possession of it, confounding at every step of dramatic action the containment of miniaturization. Conceivably, Craven did not want her audience to take the comic mode for granted, generic precariousness standing in for the precariousness of female happiness in eighteenth-century patriarchal society. For example, while at the playhouse with her mother, an officer enters their box and the writer complains: As well, clearly delighting in her temporary escape from normative values and gendered constraints of dress and conversation, Eliza experiences the individualistic pleasure of the masculine subject. Interactive Journal for Women in the Arts, , Vol. Most compelling is Julia H. Within a closed scenic context, Craven thwarts audience expectations raised by the initial stage action of The Miniature Picture. Camply, and when it proves effective, she unmasks, so to speak, and reveals her master plan. Few literary critics have attended to this three-act comedy, which is briefly treated in Wendy C. Thus, Eliza feels, but subsequently chooses to act, to decline the role of the static, passive sentimental heroine. Craven resisted exposure, discomfited by the prospect of her face being on display without her consent. The limited paradigm of distressed virtue offers no change or relief save what is levied externally, by coincidence or by men acting for her. This trick, which she recollects was unsuccessful, cannot simply be chalked up to youthful mischief-making. While stories of her sexual indiscretions fueled viperous detractors, Craven sought to project and preserve her own image, both proactively and reactively. Mary Robinson also recoiled from intrusive looking; several times in her own memoir, she describes being subjected to the rude stares of male strangers. Varying assessments of her show that she is no stock character bounded by literary convention and conservative cultural stereotyping. Though a reluctant celebrity when forced into the limelight, Craven refused to be cowed by public opinion. Robinson, Written by Herself.
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