The Rivals

Courier Corporation
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During a brief but brilliant literary career, Irish-born dramatist and statesman Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751–1816) wrote cleverly plotted plays that revealed his nimble wit and keen eye for comic situations. Two of them — The School for Scandal and The Rivals — are among the funniest in the English language.
The Rivals, brimming with false identities and with romantic entanglements carried on amid a cloud of parental disapproval, satirizes the pretentiousness and sentimentality of the age. It features a cast of memorable characters, among them the lovely Lydia Languish, whose pretty head has been filled with nonsense from romantic novels; Capt. Jack Absolute, a young officer in love with Lydia; Sir Anthony Absolute, Jack's autocratic father; Sir Lucius O'Trigger, a fiery Irishman; and Jack's provincial neighbor, Bob Acres, a bumptious but lovable country squire in love with Lydia.
Hoping to win Lydia's affection, Captain Jack woos the pretty miss by pretending to be a penniless ensign named Beverley, an act that nearly incites a duel with Acres. His actions also provoke serious objections from Lydia's aunt, Mrs. Malaprop, a misspeaking matron whose ludicrous misuse of words gave the English language a new term: malapropism. Ultimately, the hilarious complications are resolved in a radiant comic masterpiece that will entertain and delight theater devotees and students of English drama alike.
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About the author

The son of Thomas Sheridan, the Irish actor and theater manager, Richard Brinsley Sheridan began writing plays as a youngster in Bath. He went on to become one of the most successful playwrights of the later eighteenth century, manager of the Drury Lane Theater, and also a politician and orator of some note in the House of Commons. Along with his friends David Garrick (seeVol. 3) and Oliver Goldsmith, Sheridan was a member of the Literary Club of Samuel Johnson, having been proposed for membership by Johnson himself. Like Goldsmith, Sheridan also attacks "The Sentimental Muse" of weeping comedy. In his best-known play, The School for Scandal (1777), Sheridan revives the Restoration comedy of manners with its portrait of the beau monde and its deflation of hypocrisy. The play is indebted to William Congreve as well as to Moliere (see Vol. 2), and the picture of society is based on Bath and London. In The Rivals (1775), Sheridan amuses himself with the language games of Mrs. Malaprop and her "nice derangement of epitaphs." The allusions are consistently literary, as in her simile "as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile." Sheridan's acute ear for banalities and truisms is best seen in The Critic (1779), a burlesque of sentimental and inflated plays as well as self-important criticism. The play ridicules "false Taste and brilliant Follies of modern dramatic Composition." Sheridan's sparking dialogue, lively scenes, and masterful dramatic construction have proved to be enduringly popular.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Courier Corporation
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Published on
Jun 22, 2012
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Pages
80
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ISBN
9780486112077
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Language
English
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Genres
Drama / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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