The Fair Maid of the West

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Dramatic Publishing, Oct 1, 1995 - 122 pages
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Thomas Heywood (1574?-1641), a professional English actor and one of the most prolific playwrights of the seventeenth century, is most famous for his plays written about contemporary English life. "The Fair Maid of the West" recalls typical Elizabethan bourgeois literature, but its primary relationship is with all adventure narratives regardless of their era. This romantic comedy features vivid pictures of English seaport life and travel to exotic locales by English sea captains. The plot is filled with pirate battles, a shipwreck, courageous adventures, and devoted love. If boredom is the perennial disability of men, adventure stories are the perennial therapy, operating as a restorative by encouraging an intermission in the ordinary powers and interests of the mind.

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About the author (1995)

Heywood is a good example of the professional dramatist who worked for Philip Henslowe, the theatrical manager, both as a playwright and an actor. By his own admission, Heywood claimed to have "either an entire hand or at least the main finger" in 220 plays, of which less than 30 survive. His best-known play, A Woman Killed with Kindness (1603), exemplifies domestic tragedy, in which sentiment and homely details are equally mingled. Heywood wrote an eloquent defense of the theater against Puritan attack called An Apology for Actors (1607--08).

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