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(b) The young writer: 1832–1846

In these years the theatre and music were his abiding passions. In October 1830 he attended a performance of Hamlet at the Haymarket Theatre, with William Charles Macready (1793-1873), the great actor (and future actor-manager), in the title role; the performance so moved him that he kept it as one of his ‘most vivid recollections’ (Corr. iii: 251). In May or June 1832 he attended twice, with his cousin James Silverthorne, the first performances in England of Beethoven’s opera Fidelio (Corr. xi. 29). On 22 October of the same year he saw the famous, if by then terminally-ill, actor Edmund Kean in his great role as Richard III at the King’s Theatre, Richmond, a performance which he felt inspired him in the writing of Pauline. We know that he shook Kean’s hand, and in May 1833 he attended the actor’s funeral.