William Congreve (Author) William Congreve (Author)
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DescriptionThe Double Dealer is a comic play written by English playwright William Congreve, first produced in 1693. This comedy sees character Mellefont, nephew and prospective heir of Lord Touchwood, about to marry Cynthia, daughter of Sir Paul Plyant. Lady Touchwood, a violent and dissolute woman, is in love with Mellefont, but as he rejects her advances, determines to prevent the match and ruin him in Lord Touchwood's esteem. In this design she finds a confederate in Maskwell, the Double Dealer, who has been her lover, pretends to be Mellefont's friend, and aspires to cheat him of Cynthia and get her for himself. To this end he leads Plyant to suspect an intrigue between Mellefont and Lady Plyant, and Touchwood an intrigue between Mellefont and Lady Touchwood; and contrives that Touchwood shall find Mellefont in the latter's chamber. Mellefont is disinherited and Cynthia is to be made over to Maskwell. The latter's plot, however, here goes wrong. Lord Touchwood informs Lady Touchwood of Maskwell's intention to marry Cynthia. This awakens her jealousy. She finds Maskwell and rebukes him, and is overheard by Lord Touchwood, who now perceives Maskwell's treachery, and defeats his final attempt to carry off Cynthia. William Congreve (24 January 1670 - 19 January 1729) was an English playwright and poet. Congreve was born in Bardsey, West Yorkshire, England (near Leeds). His parents were William Congreve (1637-1708) and Mary (n e Browning; 1636?-1715). The family moved to London in 1672. They relocated again in 1674 to the Irish port town of Youghal where his father served as a lieutenant in the British army. Congreve spent his childhood in Ireland, where his father, a Cavalier, had settled during the reign of Charles II. Congreve was educated at Kilkenny College where he met Jonathan Swift, who would be his friend for the remainder of his life; and at Trinity College in Dublin. Upon graduation, he matriculated in the Middle Temple in London to study law, but felt himself pulled toward literature, drama, and the fashionable life. Artistically, he became a disciple of John Dryden whom he met through the gatherings of literary circles held at Will's Coffeehouse in the Covent Garden District of London. Congreve withdrew from the theatre and lived the rest of his life on residuals from his early work. His output from 1700 was restricted to the occasional poem and some translation (notably Moli re's Monsieur de Pourceaugnac). Congreve never married; in his own era and through subsequent generations, he was famous for his friendships with prominent actresses and noblewomen for whom he wrote major parts in all his plays.These women included Anne Bracegirdle and Henrietta Godolphin, 2nd Duchess of Marlborough, daughter of the famous general, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. Congreve and Henrietta probably met by 1703 and she had a daughter, Mary (1723-1764), who was believed to be his. As early as 1710, he suffered both from gout and from cataracts on his eyes. Congreve suffered a carriage accident in late September 1728, from which he never recovered (having probably received an internal injury); he died in London in January 1729, and was buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.
February 08, 2014
6.0 X 0.18 X 9.0 inches | 0.28 pounds
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