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“The woman newly come, called Pegg”: An historiographical examination of Margaret Hughes as the Vere Street Desdemona

Merchant, M.ORCID: 0000-0003-0923-1561 (2019) “The woman newly come, called Pegg”: An historiographical examination of Margaret Hughes as the Vere Street Desdemona. The Seventeenth Century, 35 (5). pp. 651-665.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1080/0268117X.2019.1642796
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Abstract

It has been traditionally accepted that the first professional performance by an English actress occurred on December 8th, 1660 in a production of Othello staged at the Vere Street Theatre in London. The name of the actress who played the role of Desdemona in this production is not known, however many theatre historians have claimed that it was Margaret Hughes. Using archival research, this article explores the history of women on the Restoration stage to determine the importance of the Vere Street Desdemona and then conducts an historiographical examination of the case for Hughes as the first professional English actress. It looks in-depth at the evidence supporting this assertion and addresses the issues present in the existing historical analyses, ultimately showing that Margaret Hughes was not on the stage in London prior to 1668 and therefore could not have been the Vere Street Desdemona.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Creative Media, Arts and Design
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Copyright: © 2019 The Seventeenth Century
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/50574
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