Eighteenth Century Women Playwrights Essay examples

Eighteenth Century Women Playwrights Essay examples

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The following essay gives a short biography of eight of the most well known women playwrights of the eighteenth century. The essay runs in chronological order by each playwright’s birth date and describes the better known accomplishments of each playwright. The playwrights that I have included in this essay are: Mary Delariviere Manley, Mary Griffith Pix, Susanna Carroll Centlivre, Catherine Trotter Cockburn, Eliza Fowler Haywood, Elizabeth Griffith, Hannah Parkhouse Cowley, and Elizabeth Simpson Inchbald (Benedict 2003).

Mary Delariviere Manley has a strange early history. It is unknown whether or not her first name really was Mary. It is unknown exactly when and exactly where she was born. The name of her mother is unknown. The resting place of her father is unknown. Mary Manley was born either on April 6 or 7, 1663, or in any year between 1667 and 1672. Her father, Lieutenant-Governor of the English island of Jersey, abandoned her around 1688. She lived with her cousin, John Manley, who married her, although he was already married. Later, John Manley abandoned her and their son (Schlueter and Schlueter 1988).

Mary Manley’s first two plays, The Lost Lover and The Royal Mischief, were written in 1696 while she lived in Exeter. Both plays were performed in London: The Lost Lover at Drury Lane and The Royal Mischief at Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Although The Lost Lover was not successful, The Royal Mischief brought her wealth and recognition. Mary believed that the plays were not as successful as they could have been because they were written by a woman. From this time on Mary was what we today call a women’s rights activist (Rozny 2001).

Mary began to write political satires for wh...


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... Vows. Oxford: Woodstock Books, 1990.

Ingrassia, Catherine. “Eliza Haywood.” http://www.people.vcu.edu/~cingrass/chronology.htm (13 November 2003).

Ricciardi, Cynthia B. “Welcome to the Elizabeth Griffith Homepage.” 10 June 2000. http://webhost.bridgew.edu/cricciardi/griffith.htm> (11 November 2003).
Rozny, Noel and Margaret Vincent. “The Official Website of the Secret Society of British Gentlewomen.” 19 April 2001.

(11 November 2003).

Schlueter, Paul, and June Schlueter, ed. An Encyclopedia of British Women Writers. NY: Garland, 1988.

Todd, Janet, ed. A Dictionary of British and American Women Writers 1660-1800. NJ: Rowman and Allanheld, 1985.

Warren, Kate M. “New Advent.” 15 September 2003.
(14 November 2003).

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