The city on stage

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The French traveler and critic Alexis de Tocqueville likely had in mind New York City theaters like the Bowery and the Park when he wrote, in Democracy in America (1835), that [a]t the theater alone, the higher ranks mix with the middle and lower classes; there alone do the former consent to listen to the opinion of the latter, or at least to allow them to give an opinion at all. At the theater men of cultivation and of literary attainments have always had more difficulty than elsewhere in making their taste prevail over that of the people and in preventing themselves from being carried away by the latter. The pit has frequently made laws for the boxes. Tocqueville’s description indicates the ways in which the early theater in New York (as in larger cities such as London or Paris) both accommodated all classes and segregated them in carefully demarcated architectural spaces, the “pit” on the floor and the private “boxes” - belonging to wealthy subscribers - above and to the sides. He doesn’t mention the third space common to early New York theaters, the “gallery,” made up of balcony seating that reached up to nosebleed heights, including a “third tier” that often housed prostitutes and their customers. The “gallery gods,” young workingclass patrons, were commonly understood to rule theaters by threatening to shower food or even furniture on performers or viewers in other portions of the house.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to
Subtitle of host publicationThe Literature of New York
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages42-57
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781139002844
ISBN (Print)9780521514712
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Fingerprint

Onstage
New York Theatre
Balcony
Democracy
Prostitutes
Consent
Performer
Seating
Deity
Middle Class
Third Space
Alexis De Tocqueville
Travellers
Food
Viewer
Lower Class
Patron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Cite this

Waterman, B. (2010). The city on stage. In The Cambridge Companion to: The Literature of New York (pp. 42-57). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL9780521514712.004

The city on stage. / Waterman, Bryan.

The Cambridge Companion to: The Literature of New York. Cambridge University Press, 2010. p. 42-57.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Waterman, B 2010, The city on stage. in The Cambridge Companion to: The Literature of New York. Cambridge University Press, pp. 42-57. https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL9780521514712.004
Waterman B. The city on stage. In The Cambridge Companion to: The Literature of New York. Cambridge University Press. 2010. p. 42-57 https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL9780521514712.004
Waterman, Bryan. / The city on stage. The Cambridge Companion to: The Literature of New York. Cambridge University Press, 2010. pp. 42-57
@inbook{b2bb9bec4ef04ff5b181816ce0992294,
title = "The city on stage",
abstract = "The French traveler and critic Alexis de Tocqueville likely had in mind New York City theaters like the Bowery and the Park when he wrote, in Democracy in America (1835), that [a]t the theater alone, the higher ranks mix with the middle and lower classes; there alone do the former consent to listen to the opinion of the latter, or at least to allow them to give an opinion at all. At the theater men of cultivation and of literary attainments have always had more difficulty than elsewhere in making their taste prevail over that of the people and in preventing themselves from being carried away by the latter. The pit has frequently made laws for the boxes. Tocqueville’s description indicates the ways in which the early theater in New York (as in larger cities such as London or Paris) both accommodated all classes and segregated them in carefully demarcated architectural spaces, the “pit” on the floor and the private “boxes” - belonging to wealthy subscribers - above and to the sides. He doesn’t mention the third space common to early New York theaters, the “gallery,” made up of balcony seating that reached up to nosebleed heights, including a “third tier” that often housed prostitutes and their customers. The “gallery gods,” young workingclass patrons, were commonly understood to rule theaters by threatening to shower food or even furniture on performers or viewers in other portions of the house.",
author = "Bryan Waterman",
year = "2010",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1017/CCOL9780521514712.004",
language = "English (US)",
isbn = "9780521514712",
pages = "42--57",
booktitle = "The Cambridge Companion to",
publisher = "Cambridge University Press",

}

TY - CHAP

T1 - The city on stage

AU - Waterman, Bryan

PY - 2010/1/1

Y1 - 2010/1/1

N2 - The French traveler and critic Alexis de Tocqueville likely had in mind New York City theaters like the Bowery and the Park when he wrote, in Democracy in America (1835), that [a]t the theater alone, the higher ranks mix with the middle and lower classes; there alone do the former consent to listen to the opinion of the latter, or at least to allow them to give an opinion at all. At the theater men of cultivation and of literary attainments have always had more difficulty than elsewhere in making their taste prevail over that of the people and in preventing themselves from being carried away by the latter. The pit has frequently made laws for the boxes. Tocqueville’s description indicates the ways in which the early theater in New York (as in larger cities such as London or Paris) both accommodated all classes and segregated them in carefully demarcated architectural spaces, the “pit” on the floor and the private “boxes” - belonging to wealthy subscribers - above and to the sides. He doesn’t mention the third space common to early New York theaters, the “gallery,” made up of balcony seating that reached up to nosebleed heights, including a “third tier” that often housed prostitutes and their customers. The “gallery gods,” young workingclass patrons, were commonly understood to rule theaters by threatening to shower food or even furniture on performers or viewers in other portions of the house.

AB - The French traveler and critic Alexis de Tocqueville likely had in mind New York City theaters like the Bowery and the Park when he wrote, in Democracy in America (1835), that [a]t the theater alone, the higher ranks mix with the middle and lower classes; there alone do the former consent to listen to the opinion of the latter, or at least to allow them to give an opinion at all. At the theater men of cultivation and of literary attainments have always had more difficulty than elsewhere in making their taste prevail over that of the people and in preventing themselves from being carried away by the latter. The pit has frequently made laws for the boxes. Tocqueville’s description indicates the ways in which the early theater in New York (as in larger cities such as London or Paris) both accommodated all classes and segregated them in carefully demarcated architectural spaces, the “pit” on the floor and the private “boxes” - belonging to wealthy subscribers - above and to the sides. He doesn’t mention the third space common to early New York theaters, the “gallery,” made up of balcony seating that reached up to nosebleed heights, including a “third tier” that often housed prostitutes and their customers. The “gallery gods,” young workingclass patrons, were commonly understood to rule theaters by threatening to shower food or even furniture on performers or viewers in other portions of the house.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84927076995&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84927076995&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1017/CCOL9780521514712.004

DO - 10.1017/CCOL9780521514712.004

M3 - Chapter

SN - 9780521514712

SP - 42

EP - 57

BT - The Cambridge Companion to

PB - Cambridge University Press

ER -