Actor, playwright, novelist, and literary critic, Elizabeth Inchbald offers the best example of canny professionalism among her female literary contemporaries. Born into a family of theater enthusiasts, Elizabeth Simpson received only an informal education, but reading and attending plays comprised much of the family’s recreation. Her brother acted in a Norwich theater company, and, determined to follow suit, Elizabeth tried unsuccessfully during her teen years to join the company as well. Failing there, she packed her bags for London, where she soon married the much older established actor, Joseph Inchbald. Together they toured with a Bristol theater company, where Elizabeth made her stage debut as Shakespeare’s Cordelia. After her husband’s early death, Elizabeth Inchbald returned to London to continue her stage career. Never ranked among top actors, she still achieved notable success, performing with, among others, the famed John Kemble and Sarah Siddons.
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- Elizabeth Inchbald (1753–1821)
Mary A. Waters
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