A Companion to Restoration Drama by Susan J. Owen

By Susan J. Owen

This 'Companion' illustrates the energy and variety of dramatic paintings 1660 to 1710. Twenty-five essays by means of top students within the box collect the simplest fresh insights into the complete variety of dramatic perform and innovation on the time.

• Introduces readers to the hot increase in scholarship that has revitalised recovery drama
• Explores old and cultural contexts, genres of recovery drama, and key dramatists, between them Dryden and Behn

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Extra resources for A Companion to Restoration Drama

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The pit was surrounded within by separate compartments in which there are several degrees [steps] of seating for the greater comfort of the ladies and gentlemen who, according to the liberal custom of the country, share the same boxes. Down below [in the pit] there remains a broad space for other members of the audience. The scenery is entirely changeable, with various transformations and lovely perspectives. Before the play begins, to render the waiting less annoying and inconvenient, there are very graceful instrumental pieces to be heard, with the result that many go early just to enjoy this part of the entertainment.

Perhaps the most successful and best-known assault on Dryden's prefatory criticism is found in The Rehearsal. Written by George Villiers, second Duke of Buckingham, and a circle of wits in the 1660s and performed in December 1671, The Rehearsalwas an attack on popular drama of the day. The satire takes place as two wits, Johnson and Smith, attend a rehearsal of a new heroic play by Bayes. While Bayes is a composite of a number of popular playwrights, he is instantly recognizable as Dryden. For example, a major target of Buckingham's satire is critical issues from every important dedication and preface written by Dryden from The Rival Ladies to An Evening's Love.

But while Dryden assimilated French criticism into his own writing, Rymer's first published work was a translation of Rene Rapin's Reflexions sur la poetique (1674). This translation, published soon after the original appeared, was an act of remarkable foresight. Anything resembling a vogue for French criticism in translation did not occur until the 1680s, with the appearance of Nicolas Boileau's The Art of Poetry (1683; translated by Sir William Soames and revised by Dryden), Abbe D'Aubignac's The Whole Art of the Stage (1684), and Charles de St Evremond's Mixt Essays (1685).

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