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The School for Scandal and Other Plays (Paperback)
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"His Comic Muse does not go about prying into obscure corners, or collecting idle curiosities, but shows her laughing face, and points to her rich treasurethe follies of mankind"
Thus wrote William Hazlitt of Sheridan, whom he thought shone 'like Hesperus' among the comic writers of the eighteenth century. As a playwright Sheridan had a brief but brilliant career, and between the ages of twenty-four and twenty-eight he wrote two of the funniest plays in our literature, The Rivals and The School for Scandal, and a wonderful farce, The Critic. Ingenious plots, agile and eloquent wit, and an unerring eye for the comic situation characterize Sheridan's drama. Never an insistent moralist, he delighted in deflating hypocrisy and in satirizing the manners of his age. As Eric Ramp writes in the Introduction, while Sheridan was no great innovator, "the three comedies by which he is now known are in many ways the best that Georgian theatre has to offer and they are comedies which, over the last two hundred years, have added much, as Dr Johnson said about Garrick, to 'the gaiety of nations'".
About the Author
Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816) was an Irish playwright and Whig statesman. Richard was educated at Harrow School, and was to study law. However, his highly romantic elopement with Elizabeth Linley put paid to such hopes. His first play, The Rivals, produced at Covent Garden in 1775, was a failure on its first night. Sheridan cast a more capable actor for the role of the comic Irishman for its second performance, and it was a smash which immediately established the young playwright's reputation. It has gone on to become a standard of English literature. His most famous play School for Scandal (1777) is considered one of the greatest comedies of manners in English. It was followed by The Critic (1779), an updating of the satirical restoration play The Rehearsal. He was also a Whig politician, entering parliament in 1780. A great public speaker, he remained in parliament until 1812, and was a leading figure in the party. Amongst his other works are St. Patrick's Day; or, The Scheming Lieutenant (1775), The Duenna (1775), Scarborough and the Critic (1777) and School for Scandal (1777).