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One of Wilde's most successful and most frequently revived plays, An Ideal Husband has divided critics more than any other. Treating political intrigue, financial fraud, blackmail, scandal and spin, and the role of women in public life, it is a play which engaged with issues of vital importance to its late-Victorian audience, which continue to resonate today.
“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
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.
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.

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