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date: 11 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Though Georgian comedies claimed to repudiate the cynical, bawdy tone of Restoration comedies, they remained haunted by Restoration plots, characters, and themes. Many of these remained in the repertoire to the mid-eighteenth-century, and after they faded from the mainstage, many were reinterpreted as farcical afterpieces. On the mainstage, new comedies written after 1737 revisited and reinterpreted the rake, the witty heroine, and the shifting understandings of class, which were the materials of the Restoration ethos, even as they were engaged in the project of a more genteel, polite form of comedy. Understanding this relationship through the repertoire and through the presence of familiar characters and plots in new plays complicates the critical narrative of the rise of sentimental comedy in the Georgian theatre by making more visible the pleasures and problems that stage comedy inherited from the Restoration.

Keywords: comedy, Restoration, politeness, bourgeoisie, marriage, class, rakes, afterpiece, wit, humours

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