"English Stage Comedy 1490-1900" is a unique and beautifully written study of the comedy of the English stage from the Tudor period to the late twentieth century. It shows how this remarkably enduring genre has dealt with the tensions of social life, using its conventions as tools for social inquiry. Through an examination of comedy, Alexander Leggatt demonstrates that an approach through genre, neglected in recent criticism, can have much to say about our current concerns with the relations between literature and society. This book surveys five centuries of classic comic drama, focusing on major playwrights such as Shakespeare, Jonson, Etherege, Wycherley, Congreve, Vanburgh, Goldsmith, Sheridan, Wilde, Shaw, Coward, Orton, and Ayckbourn.

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