Manual Restoration Theatre and Crisis

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The Fop and the Theatre

Worst to come was the infamous South Sea Bubble which saw the creation of the South Sea Company in exchange for the considerable national debt incurred during the war with Spain. Granted exclusive trading rights in South America for shouldering the burden, after initial successes the company crashed, causing financial ruin for many.

Writing in his dedication to The Way of the World, Congreve surmised that his absurd characatures — farcical businessmen and the grossly wealthy who achieve their means through unscrupulous, cruel means - could not possibly exist in real life.

Restoration theatre and crisis /

His words were perhaps prophetically misguided. In , just 20 years after The Way of the World debuted, although Congreve was gone, the rich of England were plunged into their greatest crisis when the South Sea Bubble plunge took stocks tumbling.


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Many of Congreve's targets of lampoon were ruined while the country faced bankruptcy. Perhaps in this modern world, as talk of a double dip mounts, the way of the world hasn't changed.

Restoration theatre and crisis /

Oh Mr Congreve, where are you now? Born in Bardsey, a master of observations on the absurd Congreve, whose th anniversary is being marked currently, was born in Bardsey, near Leeds, and is acknowledged as being one of the masters of the observation of the absurd. Locale of the wealthy classes The chocolate house, the equivalent of the bistro or coffee house became the locale of the wealthy chattering classes, and 'gay' society — in the old fashioned sense of the word, proliferated.

He wrote: "Those Characters which are meant to be ridiculed in most of our Comedies are of fools so gross that in my humble opinion they should rather disturb than divert the well natured and reflecting part of an audience; they are rather objects of charity than contempt and instead of moving our mirth they ought very often to excite our compassion.


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    Order by newest oldest recommendations. She is the author of "Restoration Theatre and Crisis" and "Perspectives on Restoration Drama" forthcoming , as well as numerous articles and essays on Restoration drama, a piece on Andrew Marvell and a theoretical article, 'Chaos Theory, Marxism and Literature; "new formations," Perspectives on Restoration Drama.

    About the Author

    This is an introduction for students to the drama which followed the Restoration of Charles II in It includes representative coverage of both the new forms in this period, and of ways in which the old forms altered, including heroic drama, comedy, tragedy, tragi-comedy and adaptations of Shakespeare. The works are situated in their theatrical, social and historical context and the study also considers the effects of censorship and of the limiting of the number of theatres by royal decree.