Beggar's Opera

ISBN-10: 0713673826
ISBN-13: 9780713673821
Edition: 2010
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Description: Mr. and Mrs. Peachum are horrified when they learn of their daughter Polly's secret marriage to the rebellious and notorious highwayman, Macheath. However, their fear is soon mitigated when they decide to kill him for his money. When Macheath is in  More...

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Book details

List price: $9.99
Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Publication date: 3/31/2010
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 192
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.286
Language: English

Mr. and Mrs. Peachum are horrified when they learn of their daughter Polly's secret marriage to the rebellious and notorious highwayman, Macheath. However, their fear is soon mitigated when they decide to kill him for his money. When Macheath is in the tavern, surrounded by women of 'ill repute', he discovers that he has been rumbled: two of these women are in cahoots with the Peachums and plan to kill him.He finds himself in Newgate and, worse than that, in the company of the jailer's daughter, Lucy, to whom he is also betrothed. Although Macheath is captured and destined to be hanged, Gay's action-packed and entertaining play subverts audience expectations by letting Macheath off the hook and not punishing its villains.John Gay's satirical opera, written in 1728, was revolutionary because it took poverty and corruption as its subject, and paupers and villains as its characters. The lyrics were set to famous songs of the day making it hugely popular with audiences and a radical departure from traditional opera.

Gay is a highly original poet and dramatist who experimented in various forms and genres. His The What D'Ye Call It: A Tragi-Comical Pastoral Farce (1715) is a burlesque of high seriousness, as is Three Hours after Marriage, which he wrote with his fellow members of the Scriblerus Club Alexander Pope and Dr. John Arbuthnot. The Beggar's Opera (1728) is his best-known work; it started the vogue for ballad operas, with tunes drawn from popular airs (Gay's are mostly from Thomas D'Urfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy, a popular sourcebook for ribald songs). The Beggar's Opera satirizes gentility and vulgarity alike, and its topical political allusions are so direct that the government forbade its' sequel, Polly. Bertolt Brecht caught the spirit of the work in his Threepenny Opera.

Jane Austen's life is striking for the contrast between the great works she wrote in secret and the outward appearance of being quite dull and ordinary. Austen was born in the small English town of Steventon in Hampshire, and educated at home by her clergyman father. She was deeply devoted to her family. For a short time, the Austens lived in the resort city of Bath, but when her father died, they returned to Steventon, where Austen lived until her death at the age of 41. Austen was drawn to literature early, she began writing novels that satirized both the writers and the manners of the 1790's. Her sharp sense of humor and keen eye for the ridiculous in human behavior gave her works lasting appeal. She is at her best in such books as Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1816), in which she examines and often ridicules the behavior of small groups of middle-class characters. Austen relies heavily on conversations among her characters to reveal their personalities, and at times her novels read almost like plays. Several of them have, in fact, been made into films. She is considered to be one of the most beloved British authors.

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