A Companion to Restoration Drama by Susan J. Owen

By Susan J. Owen

This 'Companion' illustrates the power and variety of dramatic paintings 1660 to 1710. Twenty-five essays by means of top students within the box compile the easiest fresh insights into the complete diversity of dramatic perform and innovation on the time.

• Introduces readers to the hot increase in scholarship that has revitalised recovery drama
• Explores ancient and cultural contexts, genres of recovery drama, and key dramatists, between them Dryden and Behn

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The pit was surrounded within by separate compartments in which there are several degrees [steps] of seating for the greater comfort of the ladies and gentlemen who, according to the liberal custom of the country, share the same boxes. Down below [in the pit] there remains a broad space for other members of the audience. The scenery is entirely changeable, with various transformations and lovely perspectives. Before the play begins, to render the waiting less annoying and inconvenient, there are very graceful instrumental pieces to be heard, with the result that many go early just to enjoy this part of the entertainment.

In the dedication to The Assignation (1673), he only alludes to his anonymous critics in passing to declare, Ί have neither concernment enough upon me to write any thing in my own Defence, neither will I gratifie the ambition of two wretched Scriblers, who desire nothing more than to be Answer'd' {Works 11: 322). At their worst, the Rota pamphlets are silly and pedantic. Nevertheless, they retain an important place in the history of English literary criticism. They constitute the first extended pamphlet debate about drama (pamphlet controversies would soon become a common form of critical discourse).

In 'The Authors Apology for Heroique Poetry; and Poetique Licence' prefaced to The State of Innocence (1677), Dryden praised Rapin's book as being 'alone sufficient, were all other Critiques lost, to teach anew the rules of writing' {Works 12: 89). But Rymer's real achievement is his preface. It is not just a generic introduction, but a thoughtful attempt to apply Rapin's formalist principles to English verse. In Reflexions, Rapin does not name or even allude to any English author, and his brief comments on English drama are dismissive.

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