Unique Collection of Lord Chamberlain’s Plays Published Online

23 May 2016



Digitization of the ‘Larpent Collection’ an “Enormous boon for scholars and students”* allowing insights into censorship, celebrity and society

Award-winning publisher of digital content for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Adam Matthew, has today announced the publication of Eighteenth Century Drama: Censorship, Society and the Stage.

This extraordinary collection of primary source material provides students and scholars with access to the unique Larpent Collection of over 2,500 plays from the Huntington Library, California.

John Larpent was the Lord Chamberlain’s ‘Inspector of Plays’, with responsibility for censoring plays for the English stage, wielding immense power and influence over English drama. Larpent preserved the original submissions of operas and plays – many of which were never staged or published – in his extraordinary collection, which has been digitised in full colour.

Scholars and students across multiple departments are able to explore themes such as:

• Censorship
• Celebrity culture
• Empire
• Politics
• Race and religion
• Society and fashion
• Women

In addition to the plays, Eighteenth Century Drama includes:

• The diaries of John’s wife, Anna Larpent, in which she records her criticisms of plays as well as provide insights into theatrical culture, censorship and English society
• Papers and correspondence of well-known theatrical figures such as David Garrick, Edmund Kean, the Kemble family, Sarah Siddons and many more
• Playbills, theatre records, scene books, portraits and other visual material

Eighteenth Century Drama will be an enormously valuable research tool for any scholars or students working on theatre or eighteenth-century history, as well as literature, history, politics, music, censorship, gender and Romanticism. As Robert D. Hume (Pennsylvania State University) observes: “The Larpent plays have many new discoveries to yield.”

Eighteenth Century Drama: Censorship, Society and the Stage is available now for This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Register for a free webinar on May 18th to view the collection in its entirety. For more information, visit http://www.amdigital.co.uk/m-collections/collection/eighteenth-century-drama/

*Sue Hodson, Curator of Literary Manuscripts from the Huntington Library, Los Angeles.