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John Brougham’s Columbus Burlesque Pubblico Deposited

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Brown, Rachel Linnea, and Mielke, L. John Brougham’s Columbus Burlesque. Scholarly Editing. 2022. https://mushare.marian.edu/concern/generic_works/ddf9df0c-bb0a-47dc-abc3-fb0b2a4a72fb?locale=it

APA citation style

Brown, Rachel Linnea, & Mielke, L. (2022). John Brougham’s Columbus Burlesque. https://mushare.marian.edu/concern/generic_works/ddf9df0c-bb0a-47dc-abc3-fb0b2a4a72fb?locale=it

Chicago citation style

Brown, Rachel Linnea, and Mielke, L. John Brougham’s Columbus Burlesque. Scholarly Editing. 2022. https://mushare.marian.edu/concern/generic_works/ddf9df0c-bb0a-47dc-abc3-fb0b2a4a72fb?locale=it

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We offer this micro-edition as an opportunity to consider how an agent of violent European colonialism in the Americas came to be held up as an embodiment of American exceptionalism and a justification for US imperialism. More specifically, we present here an annotated edition of John Brougham’s Columbus El Filibustero!! (1857), a popular theatrical burlesque from the mid-nineteenth-century US that derives comedy from Columbus’s association with a country whose geographic territory he never set foot on. We also provide a transcription of a promptbook for the play’s post-Civil War iteration, Columbus Reconstructed (ca. 1865). The promptbook in Princeton Special Collections is the only record we have found of postbellum iterations of Brougham’s Columbus burlesque other than accounts in playbills and reviews. Together, the published 1857 edition of the play and the undated promptbook that contains layers of revisions and staging choices constitute what John Bryant would label a “fluid text,” and what we refer to as Brougham’s Columbus burlesque, a constellation of texts and performances that emerged and evolved over the course of the 22 years and 163 performances of Brougham in the title role. Harnessing Columbus’s legacy to both critique and uphold white nationalism, and responding to the shifting political scene of a nation convulsed by violence, Brougham’s Columbus burlesque is poised to help contemporary readers understand the origins and continued ramifications of slavery, national pride, and settler colonialism in the US.

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  • Scholarly Editing (Vol.39)
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