John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, 1728-2004: adaptations and re-writings

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Uwe Böker, Ines Detmers, Anna-Christina Giovanopoulos
Rodopi, 2006 - Literary Criticism - 347 pages
When Richard Steele remarked that the greatest Evils in human Society are such as no Law can come at, he was not able to forsee the spectacular success of John Gay's satire of society, the administration of law and crime, politics, the Italian opera and other topics. Gay's The Beggar's Opera, with its mixture of witty dialogue and popular songs, was imitated by 18th century writers, criticized by those on the seats of power, but remained a favourite of the English theatre public ever since.
With N. Playfair's 1920 revival and B. Brecht's and K. Weill's 1928 Dreigroschenoper, Gay's play has been a starting-point for dramatists such as V. Havel (Zebrácká opera, 1975), W. Soyinka (Opera Wonyosi, 1977), Ch. Buarque (Ópera do Malandro, 1978), D. Fo (L'opera dello sghignazzo, 1981), A. Ayckbourn (A Chorus of Disapproval, 1984), as well as others such as Latouche, Hacks, Fassbinder, Dear, Wasserman, and Lepage.
Apart from contributions by international scholars analysing the above-named plays, the editors' introduction covers other dramatists that have payed hommage to Gay.
This interdisciplinary collection of essays is of particular interest for scholars working in the field of drama/theatre studies, the eighteenth century, contemporary drama, postcolonial studies, and politics and the stage.

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Calendar of Important Adaptations and ReWritings 19202004
The Beggars Opera and its Criminal Law Context
Horst Höhne
AnnaChristina Giovanopoulos
Frank Engelmann
Klaus Schuhmacher
Uwe Böker
Wumi Raji

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About the author (2006)

Uwe Böker has been Professor of English Literature at the Technische Universität Dresden till his retirement in 2006. His fields of research include the history of genres, the relationship between crime and literature as well as the history of publishing and bookselling.
Ines Detmers is currently doing research on contemporary British women's poetry, narratology, and the theory of genre, teaching English literature at the Technische Universität; she is also affiliated with the Gießener Graduierten Kolleg (GGK).
Anna-Christina Giovanopoulos received her Ph.D. from Dresden in 2000 with a dissertation on American Literature in the GDR. She now teaches at the Dresden English Department. Her main areas of research are censorship (eighteenth and twentieth centuries), with a special focus on the public sphere, legal culture and literature.

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