Colley Cibber

Colley Cibber (sĬb´ər), 1671–1757, English dramatist and actor-manager. Joining the company at the Theatre Royal in 1690, Cibber became successful as a comedian, playing the fops of Restoration comedy. His first play, Love's Last Shift (1696), is a landmark in the history of the theater and is regarded as the first sentimental comedy. Of his 30 dramas, She Wou'd and She Wou'd Not (1702), The Careless Husband (1704), and The Nonjuror (1717) are the most notable. From 1710 to 1740 he was the manager of Drury Lane. He was appointed poet laureate in 1730. An extremely unpopular, social-climbing, and insolent man, he was ridiculed by the critics and bitterly attacked by Pope, who made him the hero of the final version of The Dunciad. Cibber's Apology (1740) is a mine of information about the theater of this period.

See R. H. Barker, Mr. Cibber of Drury Lane (1939); L. Ashley, Colley Cibber (1965).



Both his son, Theophilus Cibber, 1703–58, and his daughter, Charlotte (Cibber) Clarke, d. 1760?, went on the stage with some success, earning wild and eccentric reputations in the tradition of the family. The wife of Theophilus, Susannah Maria (Arne) Cibber, 1714–66, sister of the composer Thomas Augustine Arne, sang in opera and appeared with great success in tragic roles.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Life and Times of Colley Cibber
Dorothy Senior; Cibber Colley.
Rae D. Henkle Co., Inc., 1928
FREE! Studies in the Work of Colley Cibber
De Witt C. Croissant.
The University, 1912
Mr. Cibber of Drury Lane
Richard Hindry Barker.
Columbia University Press, 1939
The Poets Laureate
Kenneth Hopkins.
Library Publishers, 1955
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Colley Cibber"
Sexual Suspects: Eighteenth-Century Players and Sexual Ideology
Kristina Straub.
Princeton University Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IV "Men from Boys: Cibber, Pope, and the Schoolboy"
Richard's Himself Again: A Stage History of Richard III
Scott Colley.
Greenwood Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Cibber's Richard III"
The Fine Art of Literary Mayhem: A Lively Account of Famous Writers and Their Feuds
Myrick Land.
Holt Rinehart and Winston, 1963
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Mr. Pope Confers Immortality upon the Unworthy Mr. Colley Cibber"
Humor in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century British Literature: A Reference Guide
Don L. F. Nilsen.
Greenwood Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "Colley Cibber (1671-1757)" begins on p. 31
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