Even among the richly talented generation who wrote for the stage during the Restoration, Etherege was, from the start, considered to be a very special kind of innovator. His first play, The Comical Revenge (1664), with its partisan portrait of the Cavalier gentry during the last years of the Revolution and its bravura interweaving of four separate plots, deftly caught an early Restoration mood and enjoyed great popularity. Its successor, She Would if She Could (1668), marks a deliberate change in direction. Audiences, expecting a sequel more akin to The Comical Revenge, were at first faltering in their response, but by 1671 Thomas Shadwell was confidently calling it the best comedy to have been written since the return of the king in 1660. Etherege's masterpiece, however, is his last play, The Man of Mode (1676), which in clarity of vision and freshness of detail surpasses both its predecessors and in the early years of the eighteenth century became a central text in the debate about the worth of Restoration comedy. This edition includes annotated texts of all three plays, prefaced by an account of Etherege's life and the reception of his plays on the stage and in criticism.
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(210mm x 117mm x 21mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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