The Country Wife

Courier Dover Publications
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Originally performed and published in 1675, this five-act play parodies the vices and hypocrisies of Restoration London. The plot centers on the eponymous country wife, Margery, whose suspicious husband, Mr. Pinchwife, keeps her isolated. On a rare outing to the theater, Margery encounters the aptly named Mr. Horner. A notorious rake who feigns impotence to trick his way into the intimate company of married ladies, Horner soon schools Margery in the art of deception and realizes Pinchwife's worst fears.
Bursting with racy dialog and bawdy humor, this comic masterpiece offers an enduring blend of cynicism, satire, and farce. The elegance of the play's construction and the glamour of its setting provide a piquant contrast to its earthy celebration of lust and human folly. The Country Wife has been periodically vilified for its immorality but remains ever popular for its lively characters, witty double entendres, and sophisticated drama.
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About the author

English dramatist William Wycherley (c.1640–1716) is best known for his plays The Country Wife and The Plain Dealer. His Restoration-era comedies are notable for their keen satires of manners and society, and the playwright was a favorite among the wits in the court of Charles II.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Courier Dover Publications
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Published on
Jan 10, 2018
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Pages
96
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ISBN
9780486828176
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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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In Othello, Shakespeare creates powerful drama from a marriage between the exotic Moor Othello and the Venetian lady Desdemona that begins with elopement and mutual devotion and ends with jealous rage and death. Shakespeare builds many differences into his hero and heroine, including race, age, and cultural background. Yet most readers and audiences believe the couple’s strong love would overcome these differences were it not for Iago, who sets out to destroy Othello. Iago’s false insinuations about Desdemona’s infidelity draw Othello into his schemes, and Desdemona is subjected to Othello’s horrifying verbal and physical assaults.

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Essay by Susan Snyder

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'He's a fool that marries, but he's a greater fool that does not marry a fool.'

This bawdy, hilarious, subversive and wickedly satirical drama pokes fun at the humourless, the jealous, and the adulterous alike. It features a country wife, Margery, whose husband believes she is too naïve to cuckold him; and an anti-hero, Horner, who pretends to be impotent in order to have unrestrained access to the women keen on 'the sport'. A number of licentious and hypocritical women request Horner's services – the country wife among them.

The Country Wife has provoked powerfully mixed reactions over the years. The seventeenth century libertine king Charles II saw it twice, and is said to have joined the 'dance of the cuckolds' at the end of one performance; the eighteenth century actor-playwright David Garrick declared it 'the most licentious play in the English language'; the Victorian Macaulay compared it to a skunk, because it was 'too filthy to handle and too noisome even to approach'. Twentieth century productions heralded it a Restoration masterpiece. Sexually frank, and as ready to criticise marriage as infidelity, the virtuosity, linguistic energy, brilliant wit, naughtiness and complexity of this ribald play have made it a staple of the modern stage.

This student edition contains a lengthy, entirely new introduction, by leading scholar, Tiffany Stern, with a background on the author, structure, characters, genre, themes, original staging and performance history, as well as an updated bibliography and a fully annotated version of the playtext.
'He's a fool that marries, but he's a greater fool that does not marry a fool.'

This bawdy, hilarious, subversive and wickedly satirical drama pokes fun at the humourless, the jealous, and the adulterous alike. It features a country wife, Margery, whose husband believes she is too naïve to cuckold him; and an anti-hero, Horner, who pretends to be impotent in order to have unrestrained access to the women keen on 'the sport'. A number of licentious and hypocritical women request Horner's services – the country wife among them.

The Country Wife has provoked powerfully mixed reactions over the years. The seventeenth century libertine king Charles II saw it twice, and is said to have joined the 'dance of the cuckolds' at the end of one performance; the eighteenth century actor-playwright David Garrick declared it 'the most licentious play in the English language'; the Victorian Macaulay compared it to a skunk, because it was 'too filthy to handle and too noisome even to approach'. Twentieth century productions heralded it a Restoration masterpiece. Sexually frank, and as ready to criticise marriage as infidelity, the virtuosity, linguistic energy, brilliant wit, naughtiness and complexity of this ribald play have made it a staple of the modern stage.

This student edition contains a lengthy, entirely new introduction, by leading scholar, Tiffany Stern, with a background on the author, structure, characters, genre, themes, original staging and performance history, as well as an updated bibliography and a fully annotated version of the playtext.
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