A revised edition of this 18th century comedy with an introduction in which aspects of language, staging and interpretation are explored. The reader is encouraged to examine the strong political element in the play and to see how this relates to its literary and theatrical parodies.
The Critic was Sheridan's response to a very specific political and theatrical situation. In the summer of 1779, a Franco-Spanish invasion seemed imminent and patriotic fervour superseded party divisions and personal animosities. The Critic satirises the panic of the summer in the form of the comically misconceived tragedy 'The Spanish Armada' that is in rehearsal in the second and third acts, but The Critic ends with genuine patriotic feeling. This edition traces both the political and the theatrical objects of Sheridan's satire and discusses its reliance (and improvement) on earlier meta-theatrical burlesques like The Duke of Buckingham's Restoration romp The Rehearsal.
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