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Look Inside Restoration Drama and 'The Circle of Commerce'

Restoration Drama and 'The Circle of Commerce'
Tragicomedy, Politics, and Trade in the Seventeenth Century


  • Date Published: February 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521180900

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About the Authors
  • Beginning with John Dryden's valuation of the importance of Beaumont and Fletcher for Restoration playwrights like himself, this book traces the genealogy of Restoration drama back to the beginning of the seventeenth century. It shows how tragicomedy was a means of deliberating on the political issues that define the seventeenth century, of increasingly understanding the effects of trade in the wake of the founding of the East India Company (1600), and a means of linking Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood, published in 1628, with both of these concerns. Tragicomedy is also shown to be a key to understanding William Davenant, Dryden's predecessor as Poet Laureate. The book concludes with a reading of six individual Restoration plays to show how the habits of the tragicomic tradition became the means of deliberating on the nature of late Stuart power, and its increasing implication in the world of seaborne commerce.

    • Examines the works of a range of playwrights including Dryden, Wycherley and Davenant, among others
    • Close readings of six Restoration plays, including Behn's The Rover and Congreve's The Way of the World
    • Analyses how literature in seventeenth-century England employed and portrayed the issues of the emerging world of business and trade to make political statements
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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521180900
    • length: 346 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Conditions of Restoration Drama:
    1. 'This War of Opinions in the Empire of Wit': tragicomedy, politics, and trade
    2. 'This Mimic State': Cicero, Quintilian, and the theatrical scene of culture
    Part II. Davenant:
    3. 'The Civility of the Stage': Davenant's critical royalism
    4. 'The Vitruvius of His Age': Inigo Jones, the rhetoric of stage design, and architectural theory
    5. 'This New Building': Davenant's last phase Gondibert (1650–1)
    Part III. Some Restoration Plays from Dryden to Congreve:
    6. Instituting empiricism: Hobbes and Dryden's Marriage a la mode
    7. Equity and exchange - or trade and contingency - in The Plain Dealer
    8. Merchants and bullionists in Behn's The Rover
    9. The political economy of All for Love
    10. The double logic of Don Sebastian: the Oedipal conscience at the Glorious Revolution
    11. Epilogue: Congreve as Whig: the politics of equivalence in The Way of the World.

  • Author

    Richard Kroll, University of California, Irvine

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