Absolutism and the Scientific Revolution, 1600-1720: A Biographical Dictionary

By Christopher Baker | Go to book overview

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OLDFIELD, ANNE (1683-1730).

Born in Pall Mall in 1683, Anne Oldfield was the daughter of a tavern owner. Though his ambition bought him a position in the Horse Guards, his early death left Anne and her mother relying on relatives for their survival. In 1699, at sixteen, Oldfield began her theatrical apprenticeship at Drury Lane; by 1703, she gained notoriety in John Crowne's Sir Courtly Nice, and soon her comic talent and her flair for portraying fashionable upper-class women earned her great favor with playwrights like Colley Cibber and *George Farquhar. She took up over 100 roles during her career, over sixty of them original; Cibber claims to have written the notable roles of Lady Betty Modish in The Careless Husband (1704) and Lady Townly in The Provoked Husband (1728) specifically with Oldfield in mind. Much of Oldfield's notoriety, however, stems from life beyond the stage. It was widely rumored that Oldfield had borne a daughter out of wedlock during her apprenticeship. In 1703, moreover, she began living openly and out of wedlock with Arthur Maynwaring, whose active involvement in promoting both Oldfield's career and Whig politics gained public attention. Though Oldfield and Maynwaring raised their son Arthur together and remained devoted to one another until Maynwaring's death in 1712, they never married. Soon after, Oldfield began living just as openly with another Whig lover, Charles Churchill, in 1714, and bore him a son as well. She died in 1730, and her autopsy revealed that she had long suffered from ovarian cancer.

Bibliography: R. Gore-Brown, Gay Was the Pit: The Life and Times of Anne Oldfield, 1957; J. Lafler, The Celebrated Mrs. Oldfield: The Life and Art of an Augustan Actress, 1989.

Hillary Nunn


OPITZ, MARTIN (1597-1639).

Opitz was celebrated by his contemporaries as the “father of German poetry.” He was an important representative of late humanism which, in Germany, is characterized by the tension between confes-

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Absolutism and the Scientific Revolution, 1600-1720: A Biographical Dictionary
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Chronology xvii
  • A 1
  • B 12
  • C 46
  • D 84
  • E 103
  • F 109
  • G 125
  • H 155
  • I-J 191
  • K 202
  • L 211
  • M 245
  • N 276
  • O-P 285
  • Q-R 313
  • S 335
  • T 369
  • U-V 382
  • W-Z 395
  • Appendix A 413
  • Appendix B 421
  • Bibliography 429
  • Index 439
  • About the Editor and Contributors 447
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