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The Wonder

Susanna Centlivre’s play The Wonder (1714) was one of the most popular works on the eighteenth-century English stage. Set in Lisbon, the plot interweaves two romantic intrigues around one “secret”: the heroine Violante is hiding her best friend, Isabella (who is the sister of her own lover, Don Felix) from Isabella’s father who wishes to…

Colonel Jack

Long dismissed by critics as a novel of merely historical interest, Colonel Jack is one of Daniel Defoe’s most entertaining, revealing, and complex works. It is the supposed autobiography of an English gentleman who begins life as a child of the London streets. He and his brothers are brought up as pickpockets and highwaymen, but…