Essay Writer


A Defence of the Short View of the Profaneness and Immorality of the English Stage &c

London: Printed for S. Keble at the Turks-Head in Fleet Street, R. Sare at Gray's-Inn-gate, and H. Hindmarsh against the Exchange in Cornhil, 1699

8vo, [iv] 139 pp. [iv]. Contemporary panelled calf, florets to corners. Raised bands bordered in gilt to spine, red leather spine label in gilt ('COLLIER ON THE STAGE'), publication date to foot. Historical restoration to title page and marking ('4C') to front pastedown, extensive foxing throughout, but a well preserved, tightly bound copy.

First edition. Godfrey Bosville's copy, with his ownership signature to [iii].

The theologian, puritan and theatre critic Jeremy Collier [1650-1726] believed it was the duty of theatre to defend societal norms and traditional values, to praise virtue, and to glorify God. He said so, long and loud, in his Short View of the Profaneness and Immorality of the English Stage (1698). The Restoration playwrights begged to differ, battle lines were drawn, and war by pamphlet duly broke out. After a battering from the playwrights themselves (Sir John Vanbrugh chief among them) Collier published this defence of his position -- and largely won the day. For most of the eighteenth century the British stage was colonised by the anodyne and sentimental; only with the advent of Goldsmith and Sheridan in the 1770s would licentiousness and laughter return.

This copy bears the ownership signature of Godfrey Bosville [1654-1714], High Sheriff of Yorkshire [1704-5].

Keywords: Jeremy COLLIER William CONGREVE Godfrey BOSVILLE"

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