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The term “Restoration Comedy” is linked with the historical event of the restoration of the Stuart monarchy under Charles II in 1660 after the end of Cromwell’s Commonwealth. The rise of the genre is closely connected with the Stuart court and the re-opening of the theatres after the banning of public stage performances under Cromwell. Restoration Comedy is well-known for its sexual explicitness, its stereotypical characters (the rake, the fop) and for its strong and fascinating female characters. During the Restoration female actors performed on stage for the first time in Great Britain.
The seminar will focus on earlier and later Restoration comedies and their construction of gender roles and it will discuss how these gender roles performed on stage relate to historical questions of gender and power in Great Britain.
We will discuss the following texts:
William Wycherley: The Country Wife (1675)
Sir George Etherege: The Man of Mode (1676)
John Vanbrugh: The Provok’d Wife (1697)
William Congreve: The Way of the World (1700) George Farquhar: The Beaux Stratagem (1707)