The Second Mrs. Tanqueray
  • Publication Date: September 18, 2007
  • ISBN: 9781551116877 / 1551116871
  • 216 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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The Second Mrs. Tanqueray

  • Publication Date: September 18, 2007
  • ISBN: 9781551116877 / 1551116871
  • 216 pages; 5½" x 8½"

The Second Mrs. Tanqueray was the theatrical sensation of the London stage in 1893. It established Pinero as the leading English dramatist of serious social issues, and created a star out of Mrs. Patrick Campbell in the title role. The play recounts the marriage of a “woman with a past” and how it fails because of the double standard of morality applied unequally and hypocritically by Victorian society to men and women.

This Broadview edition includes a thoroughly revised text based on the author’s manuscript, the prompt copy for the first production, and the published first edition; it also incorporates pertinent stage directions from the first production. The critical introduction examines all facets of the play and its production, and the appendices make accessible a wide variety of hard-to-find contemporary contextual materials related to the play.


“Although I have known this play for many years, J.P. Wearing’s introduction sheds new light on many interesting aspects of the piece, which I look forward to teaching afresh with the benefit of this text. The footnotes and the supplementary material all help in understanding the play, placing it in the social and legal context of its day. Not that it is a mere period piece; Pinero’s skill as a playwright is impressive, and one hopes that this edition will encourage new productions.” — Richard Foulkes, University of Leicester

“A century and more after the fact, A.W. Pinero’s most penetrating play, The Second Mrs. Tanqueray, has now been given a full-dress evaluative and contextual editorial treatment that does complete justice to its subject. J.P. Wearing, editor of Pinero’s letters, has brought his finely honed scholarly skills and broad knowledge of English theatre and culture to the task of presenting the single most authoritative text of Pinero’s play in existence and surrounding it with several sets of informative critical, social, and cultural writing, along with a comprehensive introduction, chronology, and bibliography. An immense amount of research lies behind this enterprise, and a great range of potential readers, from undergraduate and graduate students to historians and critics, will be the beneficiaries.” — Joseph Donohue, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts

Arthur Wing Pinero: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

The Second Mrs.Tanqueray:A Play in Four Acts

Appendix A: Pinero on Drama

  1. From T.H.L., “How I Construct My Plays: A Chat with Mr. Pinero,” Sketch (1893)
  2. Pinero, “The Modern British Drama,” Theatre (June 1895)
  3. From Pinero, Robert Louis Stevenson: The Dramatist (1903)
  4. From William Archer, Real Conversations (1904)
  5. From Pinero, “Robert Browning as a Dramatist,” Browning’s Centenary (1912)
  6. From Pinero, “Foreword,” Two Plays (1930)

Appendix B: The Second Mrs.Tanqueray, The Golden Butterfly, and the Albany

Appendix C: Social Background

  1. From Caroline Norton, A Letter to the Queen on Lord Chancellor Cranworth’s Marriage and Divorce Bill
  2. From the Divorce and Matrimonial Act (1857)
  3. From John Ruskin, “Of Queens’ Gardens” (1865)
  4. Eliza Lynn Linton, “The Girl of the Period,” Saturday Review (14 March 1868)
  5. From A. St. John Adcock, “Leaving the London Theatres,” Living London (1901)
  6. From Emily Constance Cook, “The London Season,” London and Environs (1897-98)
  7. “Police,” The Times (5 November 1895)
  8. “The Charge Against Mr. George Alexander,” The Times (6 November 1895)
  9. “School Teacher’s Suicide: Letters from a Married Man,” The Times (29 June 1920)

Appendix D: Contemporary Reactions to The Second Mrs. Tanqueray

  1. L.F.A., Illustrated London News (3 June 1893)
  2. William Archer,World (31 May 1893)
  3. Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News (3 June 1893)
  4. Punch (10 June 1893)
  5. Saturday Review (3 June 1893)
  6. T.H.L., “A Chat with Mrs. Patrick Campbell,” Sketch (7 June 1893)
  7. From Yorkshire Post (22 September 1893)
  8. From T.W.M. Lund, The Second Mrs.Tanqueray: What? And Why? (1894)
  9. From Bernard Shaw, Saturday Review (23 February 1895)
  10. From H. Barton Baker, History of the London Stage and Its Famous Players (1576-1903) (1904)

Appendix E: Dramatic Techniques

  1. The Original Closing Scene to Pinero’s The Profligate (1889)
  2. The Performed Closing Scene of the First Production of The Profligate (1889)
  3. From Henry Arthur Jones, Act 4, The Liars (1897)

Select Bibliography

J.P. Wearing is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Arizona. He is the editor of The Collected Letters of Sir Arthur Pinero (1974) and has published widely on nineteenth-century drama.