The Construction and Representation of National and Racial Identities in London West End Revue 1910-1930

Linton, David Paul. 2016. The Construction and Representation of National and Racial Identities in London West End Revue 1910-1930. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis is primarily concerned with how London West End revue engaged in the construction and representation of national and racial identities. The central research question is: what do these representations of national and racial identities in West End revue tell us about wider British culture and society in this period? In answering this question, I explore and develop a number of understandings of how national and racial identity operated in mainstream popular culture. How important was the influence of national and racial politics to revue’s success? Why was identity so compelling a theme in these shows? How did other dimensions of difference, such as gender, sexuality and class, interact within these representations of race and nation? What does revue tell us about the changing state and status of Britain under the influence of new technologies, migration and early globalisation? How does this particular focus on national and racial identities change or challenge our wider understanding of revue and its significance in British culture across this period?

My thesis proposes that London West End revue was a topical, satirical popular theatre that engaged in national identity discourse and reconstituted identity formations through music, dance and wordplay. Through contextual and textual analysis, I highlight the attitudes, assumptions and beliefs that informed revue performance and narratives and reflected provocative new lifestyles, values and politics. Often politically conservative, protective of the status quo and concerned with appealing to a mainstream audience, revue was highly sensitive to the status and position of both Britain and London and cultivated a sense of itself as the defender of a colonial empire and, at the same time, the centre of a cosmopolitan culture that competed with other metropolitan centres such as Paris, Berlin and New York.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Musical Theatre, Revue, Identity , Representation, Nationalities, Race, Gender, West End, London

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


30 April 2016

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

13 May 2016 14:48

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 13:54


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