By Alexander Nemerov
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Extra info for Acting in the Night: Macbeth and the Places of the Civil War
She always is”—suggest the souvenir status of her performance, a keepsake no less material, no less neat and tidy, than the program he pasted in his diary. 103 Yet with frozen testaments, personal keepsakes, idolatrous mementoes, she would outlast the moment. Cushman’s aim had its pathos and its shallowness. The souvenir suggested an intolerance of ephemeral experience—a desire to turn all ﬂeeting events into their material embodiments, even to value events only to the extent that they produced these souvenir materializations.
J. ) Dodge. century Palmyran warrior queen, stands vanquished, humiliated, and yet commandingly self-contained in the moment Hosmer chooses to show. 80 Cushman, even with her outsized gestures that invoked the universe it34 a stone’s throw self, aimed to be a cynosure like her friend’s sculpture. 17–18). Like Virginia in Bachmann’s map when it is read centripetally (like the famous Manhattan-centric New Yorker cover), the outside world fades to blankness and irrelevance, becoming just a bunch of moss-stumped crevices and hills, before the monumental power of a metropolis or, in this case, of a star performance that implodes its surroundings to an empty inconsequence.
Partly this world is the trivial conversational space around it, the type of domestic environment to which realism was even then laying claim (in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, for example, published in book form in 1857). Nydia’s hand-to-ear gesture activates these immediate domestic spaces in which copies of the sculpture knew they would ﬁnd themselves. The gesture activates all the conversations, the daily gossip and other banal discourse, that the sculpture imagines to take place around it. Rogers was an expert mimic— one of the people he supremely annoyed with his powers of mimicry was Charlotte Cushman, of whose mordant poetry recitals he could charlotte cushman 49 do a devastating impersonation (to the lasting and indeed permanent detriment of their friendship)—and he lent to Nydia his own powers of cocking an ear.
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