Ira Aldridge

Ira Aldridge

The Last Years, 1855-1867

Bernth Lindfors

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This final volume of Bernth Lindfors's definitive biography records the remarkable achievements and experiences of Ira Aldridge in the last years of his life, when he performed at theaters throughout Europe.
Ira Aldridge The Last Years, 1855-1867, the fourth volume of Bernth Lindfors's definitive biography, places on record Aldridge's remarkable achievements and experiences in the final phase of his life, when he performed at theaters throughout Europe. His first Continental tour in 1852-1855 had been a spectacular success, and though he returned to Britain periodically afterwards, he spent much of the remainder of his career entertaining audiences in central and eastern Europe, mainly in Ukraine and Russia. His Shakespearean performances in St. Petersburg in 1858 and Moscow in 1862 were among his greatest triumphs and led to numerous appearances elsewhere in provincial cities and towns.

During his forty-three years on stage in Europe, Ira Aldridge traveled more widely and won more honors, decorations, and awards than any other actor of his day. He is remembered not only as a talented thespian but also as a very visible representative of his race, someone who changed European perceptions of black people through the sheer brilliance of his artistry on stage. And by doing so, he helped to humanize the image of Africans and their descendants in Europe at an important transitional moment in history, when the movement to abolish slavery was gathering force and winning international acceptance.

Bernth Lindfors is Professor Emeritus of English and African literatures at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Readjusting to Britain
Crim. Con.
On the Road Again
The Second Continental Tour
Pest and Buda
A Short Break
The Third Continental Tour
Home Again
The Fourth Continental Tour
The Fifth Continental Tour
The Sixth Continental Tour
Taking a Break
The Seventh Continental Tour
Another Break
The Eighth Continental Tour
The Ninth Continental Tour
Final Acts
Selected Bibliography


Through his thorough mining of a vast array of European archives, Lindfors surpasses all previous studies in recounting the actions of, and wildly contradictory viewpoints towards, this seminal figure ... his absolute mastery of the sources and deep understanding of Aldridge and the period lead to probing insights. THEATRE JOURNAL

With Ira Aldridge The Last Years, 1855-1867, Berth Lindfors concludes what will surely remain the definitive biography of the great nineteenth-century African American actor, Ira Aldridge, for many a decade ... Through an exhaustive search of local reviews and commentary he is able not only to follow Aldridge on his travels, but also to provide a wide range of observations on the actor's technique and artistic success. RESEARCH IN AFRICAN LITERATURE

Winner of the Theatre Library Association's 2015 George Freedley Award Special Jury Prize

Lindfors's four-volume biography is destined to become the standard life of Aldridge, without equal in the future. Highly recommended. CHOICE

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