Talk by Heather Nathans “Hideous Characters and Beautiful Pagans”
Heather Nathans is the Chair of the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, and the Alice and Nathan Gantcher Professor in Judaic Studies at Tufts University. Her novel Hideous Characters and Beautiful Pagans: Performing Jewish Identity on the Antebellum American Stage explores the ways in which representations of Jewish characters in American theaters mirrored the treatment of Jewish Americans outside the playhouse. She examines stereotypes as well as the characters intended to soften the image of the ‘stage Jew’. These diverse types reflect the struggle of Jewish Americans to establish themselves in the new nation, while still adhering to the cultural traditions and religious doctrines of their ancestors. Delving into a wide array of sources from diaries to tax records to political cartoons, Nathans illuminates the history of revolutionary artists who insisted that they belonged on the stage and who ultimately paved the way for the generations that followed.
Hideous Characters and Beautiful Pagans was the recipient of the Barnard Hewitt Award from the American Society for Theatre Research, as well as the American Theatre and Drama Society’s John W. Frick Book Award. In 2018, Nathans was given the Betty Jean Jones Award for teaching and mentorship from the American Theatre and Drama Society. She has held numerous fellowships, including ones from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is also the Editor of the Studies in Theatre History and Culture series from the University of Iowa Press.
This talk is free and open to the public. No reservations necessary, but seating is limited. The Speaker Series has been made possible with the support of the Embassy of the United States of America, France. / Avec le soutien de l’Ambassade des États-Unis d’Amérique.
Location: English-language Library in Angers