Representative English Comedies - Vol. 1

Representative English Comedies - Vol. 1

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Representative English Comedies - Vol. 1

Representative English Comedies - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

Excerpt

"'Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale . . . nor ginger hot i' the mouth?' Or knowest not that while man, casting the dice with Fate and Mistress Grundy, imagineth a new luck, there shall be new comedy? Why, then, reprint these old?"

In part, because the comedies of a nation are for literature as well as for the footlights, and literature, in most cases, begins after the footlights are out. In part, because old comedies make good reading, not only for lovers of fiction and the stage, but for the student of society and the historian. Until rival forms of literary art began to usurp their function, comedies were -- in England, not o speak of other and older lands -- the recognized and cherished exponent of the successive phases of contemporary life. For us they still are living sketches of the social manners, morals, vanities, and ideals of generations of our ancestors; history "unbeknownst" as written by contemporaries. Unfortunately, many of these old comedies are inaccessible to the public; and, therefore, we venture to hope that the general reader may find such a collection as the present acceptable, whether he care to enter upon a historical and technical study of the subject or not.

To the student of literary history, however, this series will, we trust, justify its existence for quite another reason. For the aim of this volume and those which will follow is to indicate the development of a literary type by a selection of its representative specimens, arranged in the order of their production and accom-

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