School for Scandal and Other Plays

ISBN-10: 0199540098
ISBN-13: 9780199540099
Edition: 2008
List price: $11.95 Buy it from $4.56
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Description: Richly exploited comic situations, effervescent wit, and intricate plots combine to make Sheridan's work among the best of of all English comedy. The School for Scandal (1777) is his masterpiece, a brilliantly crafted comedy of contrasts in which  More...

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Book details

List price: $11.95
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 8/1/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 496
Size: 5.25" wide x 7.75" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.748

Richly exploited comic situations, effervescent wit, and intricate plots combine to make Sheridan's work among the best of of all English comedy. The School for Scandal (1777) is his masterpiece, a brilliantly crafted comedy of contrasts in which brothers Joseph and Charles Surface contendfor Maria, with hilariously differing intentions and results. Also a work of acute comic irony, The Rivals satirizes the romantic posturing of Lydia Languish while her disguised suitor Captain Absolute's resourceful contrivances advance an ever inventive and skilfully wrought plot. Included in thisedition are the opera play The Duenna and the rarely printed musical play A Trip to Scarborough, adapted from Vanbrugh's The Relapse. Sheridan's last play, The Critic, is an exuberant parody of the modish tragic drama of the day. Lampooning Sir Fretful Plagiary's absurdly bombastic historical dramaduring its confused stages of production, its satire never fails to delight. The texts of the plays have been newly edited by the General Editor of the Oxford World's Classics English Drama series. A fine introduction and notes on Sheridan's playhouses and critical inheritance make this an invaluable edition for study and performance alike.

The son of Thomas Sheridan, the Irish actor and theater manager, Richard Brinsley Sheridan began writing plays as a youngster in Bath. He went on to become one of the most successful playwrights of the later eighteenth century, manager of the Drury Lane Theater, and also a politician and orator of some note in the House of Commons. Along with his friends David Garrick (seeVol. 3) and Oliver Goldsmith, Sheridan was a member of the Literary Club of Samuel Johnson, having been proposed for membership by Johnson himself. Like Goldsmith, Sheridan also attacks "The Sentimental Muse" of weeping comedy. In his best-known play, The School for Scandal (1777), Sheridan revives the Restoration comedy of manners with its portrait of the beau monde and its deflation of hypocrisy. The play is indebted to William Congreve as well as to Moliere (see Vol. 2), and the picture of society is based on Bath and London. In The Rivals (1775), Sheridan amuses himself with the language games of Mrs. Malaprop and her "nice derangement of epitaphs." The allusions are consistently literary, as in her simile "as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile." Sheridan's acute ear for banalities and truisms is best seen in The Critic (1779), a burlesque of sentimental and inflated plays as well as self-important criticism. The play ridicules "false Taste and brilliant Follies of modern dramatic Composition." Sheridan's sparking dialogue, lively scenes, and masterful dramatic construction have proved to be enduringly popular.

MICHAEL CORDNER is Ken Dixon Professor of Drama at the University of York, UK. He has published editions of plays by Farquhar, Etherege, Vanbrugh, Dryden, Lee, Otway, Southerne and Sheridan, and his most recent critical publications concern the relationship between Shakespearean editing and performance and English stage comedy. He also frequently directs plays from the early modern repertoire. PETER HOLLAND is McMeel Family Professor in Shakespeare Studies at the University of Notre Dame, USA. From 1997 to 2002 he was Director of the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK, and Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK. In 2007-08 he is President of the Shakespeare Association of America.

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