Four Restoration Marriage Plays

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Oxford University Press, 1998 - Domestic drama, English - 439 pages
Marriage and its discontents lie at the heart of Restoration comedy. In all four of the great plays gathered here for the first time, a married woman confronts her would-be seducer. Each dramatist, however, totally reinterprets that situation. Thomas Otway's The Soldier's Fortune convertsadultery into political revenge. Nathaniel Lee's The Princess of Cleves offers a potent and perplexing portrait of a libertine in action at the sixteenth century French court. John Dryden's Amphitryon, set in ancient Thebes, retells the story in which Jupiter lures the virtuous Alcmena intocuckolding her husband by a stratagem which throws into doubt the nature of human identity. Thomas Southerne's The Wives' Excuse reinvents, for the new circumstances of the 1690s, the familiar Restoration plot of a wife spurred towards infidelity by her partner's failings. Rich, diverse, andinventive, these plays demonstrate the intensity and vigour with which the institution of marriage was interrogated in the post-1660 playhouses. The texts of the plays have been newly edited and are presented with modernized spelling and punctuation. In addition there is a scholarly introductionand detailed annotation.
 

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Contents

Prefatory Note
viii
Introduction
xxxi
Note on the Texts I
l
THE PRINCESS OF CLEVES
89
AmPHITRYON OR THE TWO SOsiAS
175
hy John Dryden
255
Explanatory Notes
337
Glossary
428
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Michael Cordner, the General Editor of the new Drama titles in World's Classics, is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Englis and related Literature at the University of York.

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