The dramatic works of Mary Delariviere Manley



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Before 1900 critics concentrated on Manley's "immoral" lifestyle and feminist views and neglected the literary merits of her works. Twentieth century critics have dealt with her novels and political writings, but have given scant attention to her drama. Yet the dramatic career of Mary Delariviere Manley (1663-1724) spanned two decades of change in the English Theatre. Her four plays The Lost Lover (1696), a comedy, and three tragedies. The Royal Mischief (1696), Almyna: or, The Arabian Vow (1706), and Lucius, the First Christian King of Britain (1717) reveal her personal views on religion, equal rights for women, and sex, love, and marriage. Moreover, they also reflect her skillful juxtaposition of the current dramatic fashions, heroic drama, Restoration comedy, and sentimental drama, and anticipate the coming mode of opera.