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

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

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Richard Kroll
Cambridge University Press
Edition: Illustrated, 9/13/2007
EAN 9780521828376, ISBN10: 0521828376

Hardcover, 346 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.4 cm
Language: English

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.

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.