Love for Love

Love for Love

Love for Love

Love for Love

Excerpt

The present edition of Love for Love is based on the first quarto, Q1, published in 1695. This, the first edition, was followed in the same year by two other quartos, whose priorities are not clear: one, Q2, called "The Second Edition" on the title page, closely based on the first quarto; the other, Q3, a less exact printing, in which the text is crowded into fewer pages. In 1697 appeared another quarto, Q4, called "The Third Edition," which follows the pagination of Q2 but differs in relatively unimportant details. The first collected edition of Congreve's works, W1, published in 1710, has a preface which refers to it as "only recommended as the least faulty Impression." Although this Preface implies that the text has been carefully revised, the only major change from the quartos lies in the systematic division of the acts into scenes. A separate edition dated 1710 is referred to in the Preface of W1 as a "spurious Impression." The present edition lists the textual variants from Q1, omitting those which seem purely accidental misspellings on the part of later compositors.

When Love for Love made its first appearance in London on April 30, 1695, William Congreve had a firmly established reputation for comedy. Only two years earlier his first play, The Old Bachelor, had appeared in the theater in Drury Lane with an initial run of fourteen consecutive performances, an unusually long run at that time, especially for a first play by an author almost unknown to the literary world. A few months later his second comedy, The Double Dealer, was less well received by the SYSTEM, though generously praised by his friends.

It was a year and a half before he produced his third comedy, Love for Love, which ultimately became his most popular drama. It had been ready for the stage at the end of 1694, but controversies within the United Company, which had secured a monopoly of stage productions in 1682, caused him to withhold it until a solution to the conflicts was achieved. During the winter of 1694-1695 a group of dissatisfied actors, led by Thomas Betterton, the foremost player of . . .

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