Plays by A. W. Pinero: The Schoolmistress, The Second Mrs Tanqueray, Trelawny of the 'Wells', The Thunderbolt

Front Cover
CUP Archive, Apr 17, 1986 - Drama - 291 pages
This volume contains four plays by the leading late Victorian and Edwardian playwright Arthur Wing Pinero (1855-1934). It provides a representative sample of the work of a writer who far outshone his rivals (including both Wilde and Shaw) in his own day, and inspired such successors as Somerset Maugham and Terence Rattigan in the genre of the 'wellmade play', and Ben Travers in the writing of farce. The plays are The Schoolmistress (1866), one of the famous Court farces; The Second Mrs Tanqueray (1893), the best known of all the plays about 'a woman with a past'; Trelawny of the 'Wells' (1898), a much-loved backstage romance; and The Thunderbolt (1908), a pioneering social drama. Two of the plays (The Schoolmistress and The Thunderbolt), are not available in print elsewhere. This scholarly edition includes an introduction, a biographical account, a full list of Pinero's plays in performance and publication, and several important appendixes, including an alternative ending to The Schoolmistress and significant variants in the text of The Second Mrs Tanqueray.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Biographical record
an alternative ending
Ever of Thee by George Linley and Foley Hall
THE THUNDERBOLT table of events

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1986)

Arthur Wing Pinero, a former actor, remained a shrewd judge of theatrical taste. After a period of writing comedies and farces (Dandy Dick, in 1887, among the best), in the 1890s Pinero fastened on London's newly aroused interest in social-problem plays. But, instead of following the difficult example of Ibsen whose plays were just then beginning to be produced in English translations, Pinero turned to the French playwrights of an earlier generation. The demimondaine of Guillaume Augier and Alexandre Dumas became, in plays like The Second Mrs. Tanqueray (1893), the "woman with a past." The inevitable (and inevitably effective) theatrical business of recognition and confession led to acts of renunciation in Mrs. Tanqueray's case, suicide, which permitted characters and audiences to escape the moral problems that had been posed for them. Pinero's one lasting achievement is not a problem play at all, but the affectionate homage of a theater man to an earlier era of the London stage. Trelawney of the "Wells" (1898) has had successful modern productions at London's National Theatre and New York's Lincoln Center.

Bibliographic information