"Kahan provides a comprehensive and accurate account of Steven's life and career and a detailed bibliography of his works."
—British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
"The Lecture on Heads is a fine example of the lesser arts that flourished on the late 18th-century stage. This book is a welcome addition."
In this carefully researched work, Gerald Kahan traces the genesis, development, and production history of a delightful and important eighteenth-century theatre piece, The Lecture on Heads.
was first presented in London in 1764 and became a staple in the English-speaking theaters of the world for the remainder of the eighteenth century. It amassed a fortune for its creator, George Alexander Stevens, was copied and adapted by dozens of performers, and went through forty published editions, authentic and spurious.
Kahan studies the theatrical and cultural backgrounds that influenced the contents, development, and popularity of the Lecture. His exhaustive research has produced the most comprehensive and accurate published account of Stevens's life and career as well as a bibliography of his works. In addition, readers will find one of the earliest printed texts of the Lecture and a scholarly chronological listing of hundreds of its performances and many of its variations, including information on dates, cities, theaters, actors, ticket prices, and critical reviews.