In February several of us at the University of Maryland blogged about Maxine Berg (and David Hume) on luxury and commodity culture in anticipation and as follow-up to the meeting of our reading group. Several others contributed as well. This time, I am posting the topic and reading in advance to encourage everyone to join us in this discussion.
Scandal, Print, Performance, and Nation
In 1777, Sheridan’s *School for Scandal* became a hit on the London stage. As a play about print culture, *School for Scandal* stands at the crossroads of two major arguments about the emergence of nationalism at the end of the eighteenth century. In his classic *Imagined Communities,* Benedict Anderson argues that print capitalism in this period established and disseminated a new sense of national identity. Challenging this perspective, Joseph Roach has argued for looking to performance as a more capacious medium that allows for an understanding of a wider variety of nationalisms. The plot of *Scandal* hinges on both inherited Englishness and imperial spoils; on scandal sheets and scandalous performances. Please join us for a discussion of this play and these two major critical paradigms on Monday, April 9, 3:30-5:30, SQH 3109, University of Maryland.
1. Joseph Roach’s *Cities of the Dead* (1996): p. 1-31 (intro), Ch 3, and Ch 4
2. Benedict Anderson’s *Imagined Communities* (1991): p. 1-46 (the intro + chs 1-2)
We look forward to your thoughts on this topic.