Originally published in 1970, this title starts with an introduction, in which Professor Muir distinguishes between the Comedy of Manners and other types of comedy and traces its origins in English and French literature, there are then chapters on the major writers – Etherege, Dryden, Wycherly, Congreve, Vanbrugh, Farquhar – and on Jeremy Collier’s attack on the immorality and profaneness of the plays. This is followed by a discussion of the reasons for the decline of comedy in the eighteenth century and an account of its revival by Sheridan and, belatedly, by Wilde. Professor Muir takes issue with a number of recent critics on the dramatic value of the plays.
Table of Contents
Preface. 1. Introduction 2. Sir George Etherege 3. John Dryden 4. Shadwell and Otway 5. William Wycherley 6. Thomas Southerne 7. William Congreve 8. Sir John Vanbrugh 9. George Farquhar 10. Decline and Renewal. Bibliography. Index.