Henry Carey and the nonsense play
Henry Carey's Chrononhotonthologos and The Dragon of Wantley have only received cursory attention by contemporary critics. Yet the plays represent a unique contribution to English theatre. Drawing upon the burlesque and farce traditions, Carey develops a genre which may be designated as nonsense plays. Carey's work departs from burlesque plays such as Buckingham's The Rehearsal, Fielding's Tom Thumb and others in its delight in poetic irrationality, and from farces such as Tate's A Duke and No Duke and Behn's Emperor of the Moon. Moreover Carey's plays anticipate later nonsense literature such as Lear's nonsense poetry and Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.