Love in a Wood; The Gentleman Dancing-Master; The Country Wife; The Plain Dealer

By William Wycherley; Peter Dixon | Go to book overview

OXFORD ENGLISH DRAMA

General Editor: MICHAEL CORDNER
Associate General Editors: PETER HOLLAND · MARTIN WIGGINS


THE COUNTRY WIFE
AND OTHER PLAYS

WILLIAM WYCHERLEY was born in the spring of 1641. He was educated first at home, then for some years in France, and briefly at Oxford and the Inner Temple. Settled in London, after active service in the Second Anglo-Dutch War, he launched his literary career with a verse parody, Hero and Leander ( 1669), and established himself as a brilliant comic dramatist with Love in a Wood two years later. The play's success gained him a rapid entrée into court circles, and the attention of the Duchess of Cleveland. His next play, The Gentleman Dancing-Master, was a disappointment. But in 1675 came The Country Wife, and in the following year The Plain Dealer, greatly admired for its hard-hitting satire.

Thereafter Wycherley's fortunes declined. A bout of severe ill-health left his memory permanently impaired; a secret marriage to the Countess of Drogheda lost him the king's favour, and embroiled him in legal and financial difficulties. And the publication of Miscellany Poems ( 1704) did nothing to enhance his reputation. He died on 31 December 1715.

PETER DIXON has taught at the University of Adelaide, the Queen's University, Belfast, and the University of London, where, before his retirement, he was Professor of English at Queen Mary and Westfield College. His publications include books on Pope, Goldsmith, and rhetoric.

MICHAEL CORDNER is Reader in the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York. He has edited editions of George Farquhar The Beaux' Stratagem, the Complete Plays of Sir George Etherege, and Four Comedies of Sir John Vanbrugh. His editions include Four Restoration Marriage Comedies and he is completing a book on The Comedy of Marriage 1660-1737.

PETER HOLLAND is Professor of Shakespeare Studies and Director of the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham.

MARTIN WIGGINS is a Fellow of the Shakespeare Institute and Lecturer in English at the University of Birmingham.

-i-

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Love in a Wood; The Gentleman Dancing-Master; The Country Wife; The Plain Dealer
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Country Wife and Other Plays i
  • Oxford English Drama ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vi
  • Introduction vii
  • Note on Staging xxii
  • Note on the Texts xxv
  • Select Bibliography xxix
  • A Chronology of William Wycherley xxxiii
  • Love in a Wood,∘ - Or, St James's Park 1
  • [dedicatory Epistle] to Her Grace the Duchess of Cleveland.∘ 2
  • Prologue∘ 5
  • Epilogue 95
  • The Gentleman Dancing-Master 97
  • Prologue 99
  • Epilogue Spoken by Flirt 189
  • The Country Wife 191
  • Prologue Spoken by Mr Hart 193
  • Epilogue Spoken by Mrs Knepp∘ 282
  • The Plain Dealer∘ 283
  • [dedicatory Epistle] to My Lady B-----∘ 289
  • Prologue Spoken by the Plain Dealer 290
  • Epilogue 399
  • Explanatory Notes 400
  • Glossary 467
  • Selection of Oxford World's Classics 487
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