THE BEGGAR´S OPERA and POLLY (Oxford World´s Classics New Edition)
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The only edition to combine The Beggar's Opera with its sequel, Polly, allowing us to see the full scope of Gay's theatrical and moral vision. One of the most enduringly popular works in English theatre history, The Beggar's Opera is set in an underworld of thieves and prostitutes and its continuation, Polly, transplants the characters to the West Indies into the new world of British colonialism, extending the play's satirical attack on society. Inclusion of Polly compels us to rethink our views of the celebrated Captain Macheath and Polly Peachum, undermining Macheath's heroic glamour and Polly's simplicity. Introduction considers Gay's use of criminal and rogue literature, the political context of the plays, Gay's attitude to slavery and piracy, his treatment of gender, and the plays' formal theatrical innovations. Text closest of any current edition to the plays as seen through the press by Gay himself, retaining expressive features that convey the rhythms and pace of their first performances. Appendix on the sources of the tunes Gay used for the 69 airs of The Beggar's Opera and the 71 of Polly, highlighting many cases where the songs' original words, familiar to contemporary audiences, give a bawdy or ironic double meaning to Gay's lyrics. Explanatory Notes explain criminal and underworld slang and the topical allusions that gave Gay's satire its edge. 'Gamesters and Highwaymen are generally very good to their Whores, but they are very Devils to their Wives.' With The Beggar's Opera (1728), John Gay created one of the most enduringly popular works in English theatre history, and invented a new dramatic form, the ballad opera. Gay's daring mixture of caustic political satire, well-loved popular tunes, and a story of crime and betrayal set in the urban underworld of prostitutes and thieves was an overnight sensation. Captain Macheath and Polly Peachum have become famous well beyond the confines of Gay's original play, and in its sequel, Polly, banned in Gay's lifetime, their adventures continue in the West Indies. With a cross-dressing heroine and a cast of female adventurers, pirates, Indian princes, rebel slaves, and rapacious landowners, Polly lays bare a culture in which all human relationships are reduced to commercial transactions. Raucous, lyrical, witty, ironic and tragic by turns, The Beggar's Opera and Polly - published together here for the first time - offer a scathing and ebullient portrait of a society in which statesmen and outlaws, colonialists and pirates, are impossible to tell apart. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more. Readership: Readers of classic literature and drama; those interested in musical theatre, comedy; and satire; students of eighteeenth-century literature, culture, and drama, colonial and post-colonial studies.
- ISBN: 0199642222
- EAN: 9780199642229