George Colman's The Suicide, A Comedy (1778): A Tale of Two Manuscripts

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Abstract

George Colman’s The Suicide, A Comedy (1778) was one of the most popular new comedies of its day, and despite its controversial combination of subject and mode, it was widely received as a satiric antidote to what was perceived as a national (and fashionable) suicide epidemic. The play was never published, and serious critical assessment of the play remains scarce. This essay establishes a new history of the play from an examination of the play’s two known extant copies: the Larpent manuscript held at the Huntington Library and a prompter’s copy at McGill University, critically studied for the first time. Together, they enable the construction of an intimate history, providing new insights about the play’s licensing, its real-life satirical objects, casting, planning, and its status as an enduring Haymarket favorite.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-427
Number of pages21
JournalHuntington Library Quarterly
Volume82
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

Keywords

  • Haymarket Theatre
  • John Damer
  • Eighteenth-Century Drama
  • Suicide
  • Comedy
  • Licensing Act 1737
  • Drury Lane
  • Horace Walpole
  • David Garrick

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