Richly exploited comic situations, effervescent wit, and intricate plots combine to make Sheridan's work among the best of all English comedy. This edition includes his most famous plays, The Rivals, The School for Scandal, and The Critic, as well as two lesser known musical plays, The Duenna and A Trip to Scarborough. A detailed introduction and notes on Sheridan's playhouses and critical inheritance make this an invaluable edition for study and performance alike. About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
About the Author
Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816) Dublin-born playwright and theatre manager, who produced three classic comedies within a five-year writing career. "Whatever Sheridan has done or chosen to do," Lord Byron wrote, "has been, par excellence, the best of its kind." He was the son of the Irish actor-manager Thomas Sheridan and his wife Frances, a popular novelist. In 1775 the double success of Sheridan's first great comedy, "The Rivals", and his comic opera "The Duenna" allowed him to buy Garrick's share in Drury Lane; he became manager in 1776 and sole owner two years later. Another brilliant comedy of manners, "The School for Scandal", opened in 1777 at Drury Lane to universal acclaim. He also wrote a burlesque of heroic drama, "The Critic "(1779). All are high comedies, featuring such memorable characters as Mrs Malaprop, Lady Teazle, and Mr Puff. Unfortunately he was not so brilliant in his management of Drury Lane. His love of extravagant spectacles almost led to bankruptcy, and he constantly became embroiled in legal action against managers of unlicensed theatres. In 1794 he rebuilt his theatre to such vast proportions that Mrs Siddons called it "a wilderness of a place." In 1780 Sheridan abandoned the theatre to enter parliament, where he gained a reputation as a fine orator (on one occasion speaking for over five hours). When Drury Lane caught fire in 1809 he drank a leisurely glass of wine at the Great Piazza coffee house, watching the flames consume his theatre and remarking "A man may surely be allowed to take a glass of wine at his own fireside." He died in poverty.
Michael Cordner, the General Editor of the new Drama titles in World's Classics, is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Englis and related Literature at the University of York.