Four Restoration Marriage Plays

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Oxford University Press, 1998 - Domestic drama, English - 439 pages
Marriage and its discontents lie at the heart of Restoration comedy. In all four of the great plays gathered here, a married woman confronts her would-be seducer. Each dramatist, however, totally reinterprets the situation. Thomas Otway's The Soldier's Fortune converts adultery into political revenge. Nathaniel Lee's The Princess of Cleves offers a potent and perplexing portrait of a libertine in action at the sixteenth-century French court. John Dryden's Amphitryon, set in ancient Thebes, retells the story in which Jupiter lures the virtuous Alcmena into cuckolding her husband by a stratagem that throws into doubt the very nature of human identity. Thomas Southerne's The Wives' Excuse reinvents, for the new circumstances of the 1690s, the familiar Restoration plot of a wife spurred towards infidelity by her partner's failings. All of the plays have been newly edited and are presented with modernized spelling and punctuation.

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Contents

Prefatory Note viji
viii
Note on the Texts
l
THE PRINCESS OF CLEVES
89
AMPHITRYON OR THE TWO SOSIAS
175
THE WIVES EXCUSE OR CUCKOLDS MAKE THEMSELVES
255
Explanatory Notes
337
Glossary
428
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About the author (1998)

Michael Cordner, the General Editor of the new Drama titles in World's Classics, is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Englis and related Literature at the University of York.

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