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English Drama 1660–1700$
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Derek Hughes

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198119746

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198119746.001.0001

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‘The surprising success of the Baudy Batchelour’: Comedy, 1688–1695  

‘The surprising success of the Baudy Batchelour’: Comedy, 1688–1695  

(p.331) Chapter Nine ‘The surprising success of the Baudy Batchelour’: Comedy, 1688–1695 
English Drama 1660–1700

Derek Hughes

Oxford University Press

After the Revolution, there was an appreciable revival in the demand for new plays: between November 1688 and the opening of the actors' breakaway company in April 1695 there were forty-six known premieres. There was also a boost in quality, associated with the arrival of William Congreve, the maturing of Thomas Southerne, and the brief returns of Thomas Shadwell and of John Dryden, stripped of his laureateship and short of money. Dryden's four last plays contain two of his finest (and one of his worst), and respond to the deposition of James II with detailed studies of displacement and exile. Nevertheless, there were clear and quite rapid breaks with earlier drama. However, tyranny was now more easily subject to justice, and in both tragedy and comedy justice was frequently freed from the epistemological and linguistic problems that had bedevilled it in the 1670s.

Keywords:   Revolution, plays, William Congreve, Thomas Southerne, Thomas Shadwell, John Dryden, tragedy, comedy, tyranny, justice

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