Currents in the Cross-Legal: Recontextualizing Terence Rattigan’s The Winslow Boy

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Though Terence Rattigan’s reputation as a playwright has successfully been revived in recent years, critical responses to the plays – The Winslow Boy (1946) being a case in point – remain limited to the perspectives of British theatre history and British party politics. Paying particular attention to ‘cross-legal’ parallels between The Winslow Boy and a variety of historical and fictional analogues, Alex Feldman restores the play to a broader frame of reference, and to some of its original contexts of production and reception. First considering Rattigan’s juvenile dramatic forays into the law, including his adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities, he proceeds to explore archival evidence of The Winslow Boy’s European reception, pursuing parallels drawn by reviewers with the Nuremberg trials, the Dreyfus case, and Heinrich von Kleist’s 1811 novella, Michael Kohlhaas, re-positioning The Winslow Boy within the transnational and transhistorical legal imaginary to which it properly belongs. Alex Feldman is an Assistant Professor of English at MacEwan University in Alberta. His first book, Dramas of the Past on the Twentieth-Century Stage: in History’s Wings, was published by Routledge in 2012.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-115
Number of pages17
JournalNew Theatre Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015.


  • Charles Dickens
  • Dreyfus affair
  • Heinrich von Kleist
  • legal drama
  • well-made play

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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