Department of English

Professor Emeritus Bernth Lindfors publishes 'Ira Aldridge: The Early Years (1807-1833)' and 'Ira Aldridge: The Vagabond Years (1833-1852)'

Wed, November 16, 2011

From University of Rochester Press

This two-volume biography chronicles the life and work of one of the modern world's first black classical actors. Ira Aldridge: The Early Years, 1807-1833, traces Aldridge's life from an impoverished childhood in New York City to a career as a celebrated thespian on the British stage. In dealing with Aldridge's emergence as a professional actor in the United Kingdom, historian Bernth Lindfors records in detail the ups and downs of Aldridge's itinerant existence in a world where no theatergoer had ever seen anyone like him on stage before. Ira Aldridge: The Vagabond Years, 1833-1852 deals in depth with his later experiences as he toured throughout the United Kingdom impressing audiences with his virtuosity and versatility as an interpreter of tragic and comic black roles as well as classic white Shakespearean parts--Shylock, Macbeth, Richard III, even Iago. Aldridge also performed periodically in large cities with professional acting companies, and returned to the London stage in 1848, after leaving it fifteen years earlier. During these years he expanded his repertoire, refined his skills, and gained a reputation as one of Britain's most talented thespians. These important works demonstrate that Aldridge was genuinely a unique phenomenon in Britain at a pivotal point in the history of theater.

Now available from University of Rochester Press.

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