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School of English, The University of Hong Kong
Religious Conviction on the 18th Century Stage: Representing Confessional Commitment in an age of Toleration

Recent studies of the British Enlightenment have turned to a site of cultural production traditionally overlooked in Enlightenment scholarship: the playhouses of Eighteenth Century London. This work-in-progress paper takes up this revisionist inquiry of Georgian theatrical entertainment by exploring the ways in which the medium of Georgian theatre was uniquely positioned to tackle one of the central quandaries posed by Enlightenment sociability: the contested place of religious conviction within a state established on principles of religious diversity. I take as a case study a body of early Hanoverian drama centred around plots of inter-faith marriage, paying particular attention to the ways in which Georgian theatre contributed to debates about toleration by asking what new forms of gendered and sexual identities were attendant in a public landscape reconstituted by the imperatives of confessional pluralism.


Dr. Brandon Chua gained his PhD in English Literature from The University of Melbourne. He specialises in British Literature written in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, with a particular focus on the ways in which literary texts from this period explore the relationship between liberty and subjection. His recent monograph Ravishment of Reason: Government and the Heroic Idioms of the Late Stuart Stage (Bucknell University Press, 2014) concentrates on dramatic texts by William Davenant, John Dryden, Aphra Behn, Nathaniel Lee, and John Crowne, and demonstrates how emerging understandings of the human body and its affective drives generate new dramatic visions of sovereignty and subjection in the later seventeenth century. His new research project, funded by the Research Grants Council’s Early Career Scheme, studies early modern understandings of diversity in the context of religious schism and conflict.

Zoom Details

Zoom link: https://hku.zoom.us/j/99644367646?pwd=ZkVCNG96ZU5GamNDd2VZeHlvT0crdz09 

Meeting ID: 996 4436 7646 
Password: 585447 

In view of the current pandemic situation, all face-to-face events or activities shall be suspended in accordance to the notice issued by Task Force. As a matter of fact, the upcoming seminar will be shifted from hybrid mode to online mode only.