During the period of European revolutions the British Romantic theatre found itself re-examining the whole cast of social and sexual relations. The five plays grouped here represent some of the most radical and unusual examples of Romantic drama: Horace Walpole invented gothic melodrama with his incest tragedy, The Mysterious Mother (1768), and Robert Southey imagined the theatre as a site of revolutionary protest in Wat Tyler (1794). Joanna Baillie's psychological case study in aristocratic hatred, De Monfort (1768) was thought too alarming to have been written by a woman, while Elizabeth Inchbald's hugely successful Lovers' Vows (1798) was sufficiently subversive for Jane Austen to analyse some of its illicit potential in Mansfield Park (1814). Byron's strenuous tragedy The Two Foscari (1821) explores an inescapable conflict between parental love and political authority. The stage imagined by these writers is an arena of tense and embattled desires, with sexual and political claims mapped onto the same conflicts of power.
This exciting edition is the only one of its kind and provides the first authorized texts of the plays complete with fully-researched reference to major authorial revision.show more