This is the first new full-scale anthology of Restoration and eighteenth-century drama in over sixty years. Concentrating on plays from the heyday of 1660-1737, it focuses especially on Restoration drama proper (1660-1688) and Revolution drama (1689-1714), with a smaller selection of plays from the early Georgian period (1715-1737) and a glimpse at the later Georgian period’s “laughing comedy” (1770s and 80s). It includes nine sub-genres (heroic romance, political tragedy, personal tragedy, tragicomic romance, social comedy, subversive comedy, corrective satire, menippean satire, and laughing comedy), with the preponderance of exposure given to the jewel of this theatre, its comedy.
The core canonical plays from the era—from Dryden’s All for Love and Behn’s The Rover to Congreve’s The Way of the World and Sheridan’s School for Scandal—are all here, but so are a remarkably wide range of non-canonical works. There are many more plays by women than in any previous general anthology of drama of the period. Also included are a number of works from the neglected 1660s, whose comedies feature delightful, subversive, levelling folk elements. In all there are forty-one plays; each is fully annotated and prefaced with an historical introduction. Also included are a general introduction, head-notes for each genre, and a glossary.