Four Restoration Libertine Plays (Oxford World's Classics) by Deborah Payne Fisk

By Deborah Payne Fisk

Those 4 performs within the Oxford English Drama sequence trap the variety of responses to the trendy and bold libertine circulation within the moment 1/2 the 17th century. A Fond Husband and Friendship in model are lesser-known comedian gemstones of the recovery level; the guy of Mode is Etherege's masterpiece, and The Libertine is Shadwell's experimental and darkish model of the Don Juan tale. The texts are freshly edited utilizing smooth spelling. there's a severe creation, wide-ranging annotation, and an informative bibliography which jointly remove darkness from the performs' cultural context and theatrical strength for reader and performer alike. The advent surveys the origins and improvement of libertinism and offers a detailed examining of the performs. It additionally considers staging, and appears on the performs no longer purely as literary texts but additionally as scripts meant for functionality. This variation additionally incorporates a wide-ranging annotation and an informative biliography which jointly light up the performs' cultural context and theatrical capability for reader and performer alike.

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Example text

He also shares with Behn a partiality for the discoveries, trapdoors, and descents of which a playhouse like Dorset Garden was fully capable. Durfey’s plays revel in the farcical business of bodies careering out of control, and his plots show what happens when obsessive characters resort to ludicrous devices to realize their aims. In the main plot, Emilia and Rashley want to enjoy as much sex as possible while eluding the suspicions of her foolish old husband Bubble. That Emilia and Rashley are desired respectively by Ranger, a rival to Rashley, and Maria, sister to Bubble, intensifies the lovers’ need for subterfuge.

And in the final scene he pledges to undertake a ‘Lenten’ sojourn to the ‘great rambling lone house’ in the country where Harriet resides with ‘an old lame aunt’ and her mother, a true test of resolution for this otherwise urban creature. Etherege, however, qualifies these moments. Dorimant may be wooing Harriet assiduously, but moments before the play concludes, he pulls aside 54 Robert Markley points out that Etherege, ‘more deliberately than any of his contemporaries . . explores the ironies and tensions inherent in the Cavalier ideals of wit and carriage’.

William Smith, who took a wide range of roles over his career, performed Rashley, and Henry Harris, an excellent character actor, played the part of Ranger. 58 From 1670 on, tragedies and heroic dramas frequently juxtaposed ‘good’ and ‘bad’ female characters. The King’s Company usually cast Rebecca Marshall, who specialized in passionate and sadistic women, against Elizabeth Bowtell, who, given her girlish looks and voice, tended toward virtuous heroines. Marshall, long a mainstay of the King’s Company, defected to the rival Duke’s Company several months before the première of A Fond Husband.

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