This is the first book to examine the working world of the playwright in nineteenth-century Britain. It was often a risky and financially uncertain profession, yet the magic of the theater attracted authors from widely different backgrounds--journalists, lawyers, churchmen, civil servants, printers, and actors, as well as prominent poets and novelists. In a fascinating account of the frustrations and the rewards of dramatic authorship, Stephens uncovers fresh information on the playwright's earnings, relationships with actors, managers, publishers, and audience, and offers a new perspective on his growing status as a professional. Further chapters focus on the struggle for copyright reform and the complexities of dramatic publishing. A large number of major and minor authors are discussed, among them Planche, Fitzball, Boucicault, Pinero, Grundy, Gilbert, Jones, and Shaw.