Studies in the Work of Colley Cibber

Studies in the Work of Colley Cibber

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Studies in the Work of Colley Cibber

Studies in the Work of Colley Cibber

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Excerpt

The following studies are extracts from a longer paper on the life and work of Cibber. No extended investigation concerning the life or the literary activity of Cibber has recently appeared, and certain misconceptions concerning his personal character, as well as his importance in the development of English literature and the literary merit of his plays, have been becoming more and more firmly fixed in the minds of students. Cibber was neither so much of a fool nor so great a knave as is generally supposed. The estimate and the judgment of two of his contemporaries, Pope and Dennis, have been far too widely accepted. The only one of the above topics that this paper deals with, otherwise than incidentally, is his place in the development of a literary mode.

While Cibber was the most prominent and influential of the innovators among the writers of comedy of his time, he was not the only one who indicated the change toward sentimental comedy in his work. This subject, too, needs fuller investigation. I hope, at some future time, to continue my studies in this field.

This work was suggested as a subject for a doctor's thesis, by Professor John Matthews Manly, while I was a graduate student at the University of Chicago a number of years ago, and was continued later under the direction of Professor Thomas Marc Parrott at Princeton. I wish to thank both of these scholars, as well as Professor Myra Reynolds, who first stimulated my interest in Restoration comedy. The libraries of Harvard, Yale, and Columbia have been very generous in supplying books which would otherwise have been inaccessible; but especial gratitude is due to the Library of Congress, and to Mr. Joseph Plass, who called my attention to material in the Library of Congress, which would have escaped my notice but for his interest. I wish to express my gratitude to Professor R. D. O'Leary, of the University of Kansas, who has read these pages in manuscript and in proof, and has offered many valuable suggestions.

D. C. C.

University of Kansas, October, 1912.

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