Mary Russell Mitford, Rienzi (ed. Elisa Beshero-Bondar, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg)

Mary Russell Mitford’s Rienzi demonstrates the continuing importance of revolution as a dramatic theme into the nineteenth century. The five-act tragedy, first produced at Drury Lane in October 1828, was acted 34 times in its first season. Published that same year, the play sold 8,000 copies in its first two months. Tracing the political rise and fall of Cola di Rienzi, the play exemplifies Mitford’s skilled writing of historical tragedy for the stage, and its dramatic characterization and suspense offer a window into pre-Victorian tragic drama.