'The Way of the World and Other Plays'
By William Congreve (Author), Eric S. Rump (Editor, Introduction)
With piercing accuracy William ongreve depicted the shallow, brittle world of "society" where the right artifice in manners, fashion and conversation—and money—eased the passage to success. Through sparkling, witty dialogue and brilliant characterisation—Lady Plyant, Valentine, Lady Touchwood, Mirabell and Millamant—Congreve exposed the follies and vanities of that world, and suggested that behind the glinting mirror lay something more brutal.
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William Congreve was an English playwright and poet.... William Congreve wrote some of the most popular English plays of the Restoration period of the late 17th century. By the age of thirty, he had written four comedies, including Love for Love (premiered 30 April 1695) and The Way of the World (premiered 1700), and one tragedy, The Mourning Bride (1697).
Unfortunately, his career ended almost as soon as it began. After writing five plays from his first in 1693 until 1700, he produced no more as public tastes turned against the sort of high-brow sexual comedy of manners in which he specialized. He reportedly was particularly stung by a critique written by Jeremy Collier (A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage), to the point that he wrote a long reply, "Amendments of Mr. Collier's False and Imperfect Citations."
A member of the Whig Kit-Kat Club, Congreve's career shifted to the political sector, where he held various minor political positions despite his stance as a Whig among Tories.
Note: 'The Great Books of the Western World' recommends 'The Way of the World' by Congreve