Carnival time in The Rover is a period when prohibitions are temporarily removed, privileges and rank suspended, and women - from convent girls to courtesans - take the initiative. Featuring multiple plot lines, which deal with the adventures of a group of love-struck Englishmen in Naples, Aphra Behn's play explores issues of love, trickery and deception, forced marriage, male power, fidelity, and the excesses of sexual passion. Hers is a male-dominated society, but one with a clear-sighted portrayal of the female predicament. The play is widely taught on A Level courses as well as on undergraduate literature and women's writing courses. This new edition contains a completely new introduction, and takes into account important criticism from the past decade, as well as a new understanding of the nature of theatre in Behn's time, and the significance of her contribution to English drama.
“The next good mood I find my father in, I'll get him quite discarded” With these chillingly offhand words, Beatrice-Joanna, the spoilt daughter of a powerful nobleman, plots to get rid of the family servant who has crossed her once too often. The Changeling's vivid tale of sexual appetite, repulsion, betrayal and lunacy remains one of the most compelling tragedies of the 17th century. Exposing the vexed relationship between servants and masters, setting notions of `change' against the revelation of psychological 'secrets' as ways of explaining human behaviour, and exploring the idea of love as a `tame madness', the play reveals the terrifying consequences of ungoverned sexual appetite and betrayal. Featuring the full and modernized play text, this revised edition includes incisive commentary notes which explain the nuances of the play's vibrant, colloquial language and demonstrate its sly delight in the characters' conscious and unconscious wordplay. Michael Neill's illuminating introduction provides a firm grounding in the play's socio-political context, demonstrates how careful close-reading can expand your enjoyment of the play, explains the play's violent linkage of comic and tragic plots and gives theatrical life to the text via a discussion of its stage history, with a particular emphasis on the most interesting recent productions. The New Mermaids plays offer: · Modernized versions of the play text edited to the highest textual standards · Fully annotated student editions with obscure words explained and critical, contextual and staging insight provided on each page · Full Introductions analyzing context, themes, author background and stage history
"Here lies she whom her husband's kindness killedÂ?? This is the epitaph, in golden letters, Master John Frankford proposes for the tomb of his wife, Anne, who has just starved herself to death. Frankford congratulates himself on the clever means by which he has brought his wife to repentance-and got rid of her. The marriage is comfortable, if uneventful, until Frankford gives his friend Wendoll the free use of his table and purse. When Wendoll takes even more than was offered, and confesses his desperate love to Anne, a complex and tragic drama ensues. Praised as Heywood's best play and as the best "domestic tragedy,Â?? A Woman Killed with Kindness (1603) requires us to consider who and what the household includes and on what conditions. What are the limits of hospitality? What are the relationships between friendship and marriage, intimacy and possession? This student edition contains a fully annotated version of the playtext in modern spelling. The Introduction includes a detailed discussion of the play's interpretation and stage history.
The Importance of Being Earnest is one of the most enduringly popular of British comic dramas, and a mainstay of English literature and drama courses at college and university level. This is an ideal edition for students with on-page notes to help clarify meaning, and a completely new introduction. In the new introduction, Francesca Coppa explores recent critical approaches to the play, including queer and postcolonial readings, as well as giving the context in which the play was written and how it relates to Wilde's personal life and public persona. The introduction also discusses the play's stage history, providing students with an ideal overview of the play and its resonances for contemporary audiences.