American Civil War
The American Civil War was a war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War is the most studied and written about episode in U. S. history. As a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people, war broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States; the loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery. Among the 34 U. S. states in February 1861, secessionist partisans in seven Southern slave states declared state secessions from the country and unveiled their defiant formation of a Confederate States of America in rebellion against the U. S. Constitutional government; the Confederacy grew to control over half the territory in eleven states, it claimed the additional states of Kentucky and Missouri by assertions from exiled native secessionists without territory or population.
These were given full representation in the Confederate Congress throughout the Civil War. The two remaining slave holding states of Delaware and Maryland were invited to join the Confederacy, but nothing substantial developed; the Confederate States was never diplomatically recognized by the government of the United States or by that of any foreign country. The states that remained loyal to the U. S. were known as the Union. The Union and the Confederacy raised volunteer and conscription armies that fought in the South over the course of four years. Intense combat left 620,000 to 750,000 people dead, more than the number of U. S. military deaths in all other wars combined. The war ended when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at the Battle of Appomattox Court House. Confederate generals throughout the southern states followed suit. Much of the South's infrastructure was destroyed the transportation systems; the Confederacy collapsed, slavery was abolished, four million black slaves were freed.
During the Reconstruction Era that followed the war, national unity was restored, the national government expanded its power, civil rights were granted to freed black slaves through amendments to the Constitution and federal legislation. In the 1860 presidential election, led by Abraham Lincoln, supported banning slavery in all the U. S. territories. The Southern states viewed this as a violation of their constitutional rights and as the first step in a grander Republican plan to abolish slavery; the three pro-Union candidates together received an overwhelming 82% majority of the votes cast nationally: Republican Lincoln's votes centered in the north, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas' votes were distributed nationally and Constitutional Unionist John Bell's votes centered in Tennessee and Virginia; the Republican Party, dominant in the North, secured a plurality of the popular votes and a majority of the electoral votes nationally. He was the first Republican Party candidate to win the presidency.
However, before his inauguration, seven slave states with cotton-based economies declared secession and formed the Confederacy. The first six to declare secession had the highest proportions of slaves in their populations, with an average of 49 percent. Of those states whose legislatures resolved for secession, the first seven voted with split majorities for unionist candidates Douglas and Bell, or with sizable minorities for those unionists. Of these, only Texas held a referendum on secession. Eight remaining slave states continued to reject calls for secession. Outgoing Democratic President James Buchanan and the incoming Republicans rejected secession as illegal. Lincoln's March 4, 1861, inaugural address declared that his administration would not initiate a civil war. Speaking directly to the "Southern States", he attempted to calm their fears of any threats to slavery, reaffirming, "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the United States where it exists.
I believe I have no lawful right to do so, I have no inclination to do so." After Confederate forces seized numerous federal forts within territory claimed by the Confederacy, efforts at compromise failed and both sides prepared for war. The Confederates assumed that European countries were so dependent on "King Cotton" that they would intervene, but none did, none recognized the new Confederate States of America. Hostilities began on April 1861, when Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter. While in the Western Theater the Union made significant permanent gains, in the Eastern Theater, the battle was inconclusive during 1861–1862. In September 1862, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which made ending slavery a war goal. To the west, by summer 1862 the Union destroyed the Confederate river navy much of its western armies, seized New Orleans; the successful 1863 Union siege of Vicksburg split the Confederacy in two at the Mississippi River. In 1863, Robert E. Lee's Confederate incursion north ended at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Western successes led to Ulysses S. Grant's command of all Union armies in 1864. Inflicting an ever-tightening naval blockade of Confederate ports, the Union marshaled the resources and manpower to attack the Confederacy from all directions, leading to the fall of Atlanta to William T. Sherman and his march to th
John Fletcher (playwright)
John Fletcher was a Jacobean playwright. Following William Shakespeare as house playwright for the King's Men, he was among the most prolific and influential dramatists of his day. Though his reputation has been far eclipsed since, Fletcher remains an important transitional figure between the Elizabethan popular tradition and the popular drama of the Restoration. Fletcher was born in December 1579 in Rye and died of the plague in August 1625, his father Richard Fletcher was an ambitious and successful cleric, in turn Dean of Peterborough, Bishop of Bristol, Bishop of Worcester and Bishop of London, as well as chaplain to Queen Elizabeth. As Dean of Peterborough, Richard Fletcher, at the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots at Fotheringay. "knelt down on the scaffold steps and started to pray out loud and at length, in a prolonged and rhetorical style as though determined to force his way into the pages of history". He cried out at her death, "So perish all the Queen's enemies!" Richard Fletcher died shortly after falling out of favour with the Queen, over a marriage she had advised against.
He appears to have been rehabilitated before his death in 1596 but he died in debt. The upbringing of John Fletcher and his seven siblings was entrusted to his paternal uncle Giles Fletcher, a poet and minor official, his uncle's connexions ceased to be a benefit and may have become a liability after the rebellion of Robert Devereux the Earl of Essex, his patron. Fletcher appears to have entered Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University in 1591, at the age of eleven, it is not certain that he took a degree but evidence suggests that he was preparing for a career in the church. Little is known about his time at college but he evidently followed the path trodden by the University wits before him, from Cambridge to the burgeoning commercial theatre of London. In 1606, he began to appear as a playwright for the Children of the Queen's Revels performing at the Blackfriars Theatre. Commendatory verses by Richard Brome in the Beaumont and Fletcher 1647 folio place Fletcher in the company of Ben Jonson.
At the beginning of his career, his most important association was with Francis Beaumont. The two wrote together for close on a decade, first for the children and for the King's Men. According to an anecdote transmitted or invented by John Aubrey, they lived together, sharing clothes and having "one wench in the house between them"; this domestic arrangement, if it existed, was ended by Beaumont's marriage in 1613 and their dramatic partnership ended after Beaumont fell ill of a stroke, the same year. By this time, Fletcher had moved into a closer association with the King's Men, he collaborated with Shakespeare on Henry VIII, The Two Noble Kinsmen and the lost Cardenio, the basis for Lewis Theobald's play Double Falsehood. A play he wrote singly around this time, The Woman's Prize or the Tamer Tamed, is a sequel to The Taming of the Shrew. In 1616, after Shakespeare's death, Fletcher appears to have entered into an exclusive arrangement with the King's Men similar to Shakespeare's. Fletcher wrote only for that company between the death of Shakespeare and his death nine years later.
He never lost his habit of collaboration, working with Nathan Field and with Philip Massinger, who succeeded him as house playwright for the King's Men. His popularity continued throughout his life, he died in 1625 of the plague. He seems to have been buried in what is now Southwark Cathedral, although the precise location is not known. What is more certain is that two simple adjacent stones in the floor of the Choir of Southwark Cathedral, one marked'Edmond Shakespeare 1607' the other'John Fletcher 1625' refer to Shakespeare's younger brother and the playwright, his mastery is most notable in two dramatic types and comedy of manners. Fletcher's early career was marked by one significant failure, of The Faithful Shepherdess, his adaptation of Giovanni Battista Guarini's Il Pastor Fido, performed by the Blackfriars Children in 1608. In the preface to the printed edition of his play, Fletcher explained the failure as due to his audience's faulty expectations, they expected a pastoral tragicomedy to feature dances and murder, with the shepherds presented in conventional stereotypes—as Fletcher put it, wearing "gray cloaks, with curtailed dogs in strings".
Fletcher's preface in defence of his play is best known for its pithy definition of tragicomedy: "A tragicomedy is not so called in respect of mirth and killing, but in respect it wants deaths, enough to make it no tragedy. A comedy, he went on to say, must be "a representation of familiar people" and the preface is critical of drama that features characters whose action violates nature. Fletcher appears to have been developing a new style faster. By 1609, however, he had found his voice. With Beaumont, he wrote Philaster, which became a hit for the King's Men and began a profitable connexion between Fletcher and that company. Philaster appears to have initiated a vogue for tragicomedy.
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane known as Drury Lane, is a West End theatre and Grade I listed building in Covent Garden, England. The building backs onto Drury Lane; the building is the most recent in a line of four theatres which were built at the same location, the earliest of which dated back to 1663, making it the oldest theatre site in London still in use. According to the author Peter Thomson, for its first two centuries, Drury Lane could "reasonably have claimed to be London's leading theatre". For most of that time, it was one of a handful of patent theatres, granted monopoly rights to the production of "legitimate" drama in London; the first theatre on the site was built at the behest of Thomas Killigrew in the early 1660s, when theatres were allowed to reopen during the English Restoration. Known as "Theatre Royal in Bridges Street", the theatre's proprietors hired prominent actors who performed at the theatre on a regular basis, including Nell Gwyn and Charles Hart. In 1672 the theatre caught fire and Killigrew built a larger theatre on the same plot, renamed the "Theatre Royal in Drury Lane".
This building lasted nearly 120 years, under the leaderships of Colley Cibber, David Garrick and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the last of whom employed Joseph Grimaldi as the theatre's resident Clown. In 1791, under Sheridan's management, the building was demolished to make way for a larger theatre which opened in 1794; this new Drury Lane survived for 15 years before burning down in 1809. The building that stands today opened in 1812, it has been the residency of well known actors including. From the Second World War, the theatre has hosted long runs of musicals, including Oklahoma!, My Fair Lady, 42nd Street and Miss Saigon, the theatre's longest-running show. The theatre is owned by the composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. After the eleven-year-long Puritan Interregnum, which had seen the banning of pastimes regarded as frivolous, such as theatre, the English monarchy was restored to the throne with the return of Charles II in 1660. Soon after, Charles issued Letters Patent to two parties licensing the formation of new acting companies.
One of these went to Thomas Killigrew, whose company became known as the King's Company, who built a new theatre in Drury Lane. The Letters Patent granted the two companies a shared monopoly on the public performance of legitimate drama in London; the new playhouse, architect unknown, opened on 7 May 1663 and was known from the placement of the entrance as the "Theatre Royal in Bridges Street." It went by other names as well, including the "King's Playhouse." The building was a three-tiered wooden structure, 59 feet wide. Set well back from the broader streets, the theatre was accessed by narrow passages between surrounding buildings; the King himself attended the theatre's productions, as did Samuel Pepys, whose private diaries provide much of what we know of London theatre-going in the 1660s. The day after the Theatre Royal opened, Pepys attended a performance of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher's The Humorous Lieutenant, he has this to say in his diary: The house is made with extraordinary good contrivance, yet hath some faults, as the narrowness of the passages in and out of the Pitt, the distance from the stage to the boxes, which I am confident cannot hear.
Performances began at 3 pm to take advantage of the daylight: the main floor for the audience, the pit, had no roof in order to let in the light. A glazed dome was built over the opening, but according to one of Pepys' diary entries, the dome was not effective at keeping out the elements: he and his wife were forced to leave the theatre to take refuge from a hail storm. Green baize cloth covered the benches in the pit and served to decorate the boxes, additionally ornamented with gold-tooled leather, the stage itself; the backless green benches in the pit were in a semicircular arrangement facing the stage, according to a May 1663 letter from one Monsieur de Maonconys: "All benches of the pit, where people of rank sit, are shaped in a semi-circle, each row higher than the next." The three galleries formed a semicircle around the floor seats. The King's Company was forced to commission the technically advanced and expensive Theatre Royal playhouse by the success of the rival Duke's Company, drawing fascinated crowds with their "moveable" or "changeable" scenery and visually gorgeous productions at the former Lisle's Tennis Court at Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Imitating the innovations at Lincoln's Inn Fields, the Theatre Royal featured moveable scenery with wings or shutters that could be smoothly changed between or within acts. When not in use, the shutters rested out of sight behind the sides of the proscenium arch, which served as a visual frame for the on-stage happenings; the picture-frame-like separation between audience and performance was a new phenomenon in English theatre, though it had been found on the Continent earlier. Theatre design in London remain
Thomas Michael Keneally, AO is a prolific Australian novelist and essayist. He is best known for writing Schindler's Ark, the Booker Prize-winning novel of 1982, inspired by the efforts of Poldek Pfefferberg, a Holocaust survivor; the book would be adapted to Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Both Keneally's parents were born to Irish fathers in the timber and dairy town of Kempsey, New South Wales, though born in Sydney, his early years were spent there. By 1942, the family had moved to 7 Loftus Crescent, Homebush, a working-class suburb in the west of Sydney and Keneally was enrolled at Christian Brothers St Patrick's College, Strathfield. Shortly after, his brother John was born. Keneally studied Honours English for his Leaving Certificate in 1952, under Brother James Athanasius McGlade, won a Commonwealth scholarship. Keneally entered St Patrick's Seminary, Manly, to train as a Catholic priest. Although he was ordained as a deacon while at the seminary, after six years there he left in a state of depression and without being ordained to the priesthood.
He worked as a Sydney schoolteacher before his success as a novelist and was a lecturer at the University of New England. His father, Edmund Thomas Keneally, flew for the RAAF in World War II returned to work in a small business in Sydney. Keneally was known as "Mick" until 1964 but began using the name Thomas when he started publishing, after advice from his publisher to use what was his first name. Kenneally's first story was published in the Bulletin magazine in 1962 under the pseudonym Bernard Coyle. By February 2014, he had written over 50 books, including 30 novels, he is famed for his Schindler's Ark, the first novel by an Australian to win the Booker Prize and is the basis of the film Schindler's List. He had been shortlisted for the Booker three times prior to that: 1972 for The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, 1975 for Gossip from the Forest, 1979 for Confederates. Many of his novels are reworkings of historical material, although modern in their psychology and style. Keneally has acted in a handful of films.
He had a small role in Fred Schepisi's The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith and played Father Marshall in the award-winning film The Devil's Playground by Schepisi. In 1983, he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia, he is an Australian Living Treasure. Keneally was a member of the Literature Board of the Australia Council from 1985 to 1988 and President of the National Book Council from 1985 to 1989. Keneally was a visiting professor at the University of California, Irvine where he taught the graduate fiction workshop for one quarter in 1985. From 1991 to 1995, he was a visiting professor in the writing program at UCI. In 2006, Peter Pierce, Professor of Australian Literature, James Cook University, wrote: Keneally can sometimes seem the nearest that we have to a Balzac of our literature; the Tom Keneally Centre opened in August 2011 at the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, housing Keneally's books and memorabilia. The site is used for book launches and writing classes. Keneally married Judy Martin a nurse, in 1965, they had two daughters and Janet.
Keneally was the founding chairman of the Australian Republic Movement and published a book on the subject Our Republic in 1993. Several of his Republican essays appear on the website of the movement, he is a keen supporter of rugby league football, in particular the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles club of the NRL. In 2004, he gave the sixth annual Tom Brock Lecture, he made an appearance in the 2007 rugby league drama film The Final Winter. In March 2009, the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, gave an autographed copy of Keneally's biography Lincoln to President Barack Obama as a state gift. Keneally's nephew Ben is married to former Premier of New South Wales and Sky News Australia newscaster Kristina Keneally. Keneally wrote the Booker Prize-winning novel in 1982, inspired by the efforts of Poldek Pfefferberg, a Holocaust survivor. In 1980, Keneally met Pfefferberg in the latter's shop, learning that he was a novelist, Pfefferburg showed him his extensive files on Oskar Schindler, including the original list itself.
Keneally was interested, Pfefferberg became an advisor for the book, accompanying Keneally to Poland where they visited Kraków and the sites associated with the Schindler story. Keneally dedicated Schindler's Ark to Pfefferberg: "who by zeal and persistence caused this book to be written." He said in an interview in 2007 that what attracted him to Oskar Schindler was that "it was the fact that you couldn't say where opportunism ended and altruism began. And I like the subversive fact; that is, that good will emerge from the most unlikely places". The book was made into a film titled Schindler's List directed by Steven Spielberg, earning the director his first Best Director Oscar. Keneally's meeting with Pfefferberg and their research tours are detailed in Searching for Schindler: A Memoir; some of the Pfefferberg documents that inspired Keneally are now housed in the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney. In 1996 the State Library purchased this material from a private collector. Keneally has been awarded honorary doctorates including one from the National University of Ireland.
The Place at Whitton The Fear, rewritten in as By the Line Bring Larks and Heroes, winner of the Miles Franklin Award, set in an unidentified Briti
A foil is one of the three weapons used in the sport of fencing, all of which are metal. It is flexible, rectangular in cross section, weighs under a pound; as with the épée, points are only scored by contact with the tip, which, in electrically scored tournaments, is capped with a spring-loaded button to signal a touch. A foil fencer's uniform features the lamé, a jacket, a glove, so called knickers, long socks, shoes, an'under-arm protector', a mask. For women, young children and all who choose, a chest protector, the foil, it is the most used weapon in competition. There are two common types of foils, the non-electric foil—also known as "steam" or "dry"—and the electric; the components common to both varieties are the pommel, guard, thumb pad, blade. The blades of both varieties are capped with a plastic or rubber piece, with a button at the tip in electric blades, that provides information when the blade tip touches the opponent. Lacking the button and associated electrical mechanism, a judge is required to determine the scoring and the victor in a tournament with non-electric foils.
Non-electric ones are used for practice. The Fédération Internationale d'Escrime and most national organizations require electric scoring apparatus since the 1956 Olympics, although some organizations still fence competitively with non-electric swords. Foil have standardized, quadrangular blades that are made of tempered and annealed, low-carbon steel—or maraging steel as required for international competitions—and are designed to bend upon striking an opponent in order to prevent both injuries and breakage of the blade; the foil blade is no more than 90 cm in length with a blunted tip, the maximum length of the assembled weapon is 110 cm, the maximum weight is 500g. The blade itself is subdivided into 3 regions: the foible, or "weak", the last third of the blade near the tip. Inside of the grip is the tang, threaded at the end to allow the pommel to fasten the foil assembly together; when an Italian grip is used, see below, a ricasso extends from under the guard, inside of the grip's quillons, into the tang.
The guard is fastened to the blade and grip assemblies by the pommel, a type of threaded fastener, the specific type of which depends on the type of grip in use. There are two types of grips used for foils: the traditional straight grips with long, external pommels. Beginning with the 1956 Olympics, scoring in foil has been accomplished by means of registering the touch with an electric circuit. A switch at the tip of the foil registers the touch, a metallic foil vest, or lamé, verifies that the touch is on valid target; the electric foil contains a socket underneath the guard that connects to the scoring apparatus via the body cord and a wire that runs down a channel cut into the top of the blade. Electric foil sockets are fixed. There are two main varieties of socket in use today: the two-prong variety which has unequal diameter prongs and is held in place by a retaining clip, the single-prong "bayonette" which twist-locks into place; the tip of the electric foil terminates in a button assembly that consists of a barrel, plunger and retaining screws.
The circuit is a "normally closed" one, meaning that at rest there is always a complete power circuit. Color-coding is used: white or yellow indicates hits not on the valid target area, either red or green indicate hits on the valid target area; the modern foil is descended from the training weapon for the small-sword, the common sidearm of 18th century gentleman. Rapier and longsword foils are known to have been used, but their weight and use were different. Although the foil as a blunted weapon for sword practice goes back to the 16th century, the use as a weapon for sport is more recent; the foil was used in France as a training weapon in the middle of the 18th century in order to practise fast and elegant thrust fencing. Fencers blunted the point by fastening a knob on the point. In addition to practising, some fencers used the sharp foil for duels. German students took up that practice in academic fencing and developed the Pariser thrusting small sword for the Stoßmensur; the target area for modern foil is said to come from a time when fencing was practised with limited safety equipment.
Another factor in the target area is that foil rules are derived from a period when dueling to the death was the norm. Hence, the favoured target area is the torso. In 1896, foil were included as events in the first Olympic Games in Athens. Wom
Derry Londonderry, is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland and the fourth-largest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Old Irish name Daire meaning "oak grove". In 1613, the city was granted a Royal Charter by King James I and gained the "London" prefix to reflect the funding of its construction by the London guilds. While the city is more known colloquially as Derry, Londonderry is commonly used and remains the legal name; the old walled city lies on the west bank of the River Foyle, spanned by two road bridges and one footbridge. The city now covers both banks; the population of the city was 83,652 at the 2001 Census, while the Derry Urban Area had a population of 90,736. The district administered by Derry City and Strabane District Council contains both Londonderry Port and City of Derry Airport. Derry is close to the border with County Donegal, with which it has had a close link for many centuries; the person traditionally seen as the founder of the original Derry is Saint Colmcille, a holy man from Tír Chonaill, the old name for all of modern County Donegal, of which the west bank of the Foyle was a part before 1610.
In 2013, Derry was the inaugural UK City of Culture, having been awarded the title in 2010. According to the city's Royal Charter of 10 April 1662, the official name is "Londonderry"; this was reaffirmed in a High Court decision in 2007 when Derry City Council sought guidance on the procedure for effecting a name change. The council had changed its name from "Londonderry City Council" to "Derry City Council" in 1984; the decision of the court was that it had not but it was clarified that the correct procedure to do so was via a petition to the Privy Council. Derry City Council since started this process and were involved in conducting an equality impact assessment report. Firstly it held an opinion poll of district residents in 2009, which reported that 75% of Catholics and 77% of Nationalists found the proposed change acceptable, compared to 6% of Protestants and 8% of Unionists; the EQIA held two consultative forums, solicited comments from the general public on whether or not the city should have its name changed to Derry.
A total of 12,136 comments were received, of which 3,108 were broadly in favour of the proposal, 9,028 opposed to it. On 23 July 2015, the council voted in favour of a motion to change the official name of the city to Derry and to write to Mark H. Durkan, Northern Ireland Minister of the Environment, to ask how the change could be effected. Despite the official name, the city is more known as "Derry", an anglicisation of the Irish Daire or Doire, translates as "oak-grove/oak-wood"; the name derives from Daire Calgaich. The name was changed from Derry in 1613 during the Plantation of Ulster to reflect the establishment of the city by the London guilds; the name "Derry" is preferred by nationalists and it is broadly used throughout Northern Ireland's Catholic community, as well as that of the Republic of Ireland, whereas many unionists prefer "Londonderry". Linguist Kevin McCafferty argues that "It is not speaking, correct that Northern Ireland Catholics call it Derry, while Protestants use the Londonderry form, although this pattern has become more common locally since the mid-1980s, when the city council changed its name by dropping the prefix".
In McCafferty's survey of language use in the city, "only few interviewees—all Protestants—use the official form". Apart from the name of Derry City Council, the city is known as Londonderry in official use within the UK. In the Republic of Ireland, the city and county are always referred to as Derry, on maps, in the media and in conversation. In April 2009, the Republic of Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, announced that Irish passport holders who were born there could record either Derry or Londonderry as their place of birth. Whereas official road signs in the Republic use the name Derry, those in Northern Ireland bear Londonderry, although some of these have been defaced with the reference to London obscured. Usage varies with both names being used. Examples are City of Derry Airport, City of Derry Rugby Club, Derry City FC and the Protestant Apprentice Boys of Derry, as opposed to Londonderry Port, Londonderry YMCA Rugby Club and Londonderry Chamber of Commerce; the bishopric has always remained that of Derry, both in the Church of Ireland, in the Roman Catholic Church.
Most companies within the city choose local area names such as Pennyburn, Rosemount or "Foyle" from the River Foyle to avoid alienating the other community. Londonderry railway station is referred to as Waterside railway station within the city but is called Derry/Londonderry at other stations; the council changed the name of the local government district covering the city to Derry on 7 May 1984 renaming itself Derry City Council. This did not change the name of the city, although the city is coterminous with the district, in law the city council is the "Corporation of Londonderry" or, more formally, the "Mayor and Citizens of the City of Londonderry"; the form "Londonderry" is used for the post town by the Royal Mail, however use of Derry will still ensure delivery. The city is nicknamed the Maiden City by virtue of the fact that its walls were never
"Restoration comedy" is English comedy written and performed in the Restoration period from 1660 to 1710. Comedy of manners is used as a synonym of Restoration comedy. After public stage performances had been banned for 18 years by the Puritan regime, the re-opening of the theatres in 1660 signalled a renaissance of English drama. Sexually explicit language was encouraged by King Charles II and by the rakish style of his court. Historian George Norman Clark argues: The best-known fact about the Restoration drama is that it is immoral; the dramatists did not criticize the accepted morality about gambling, drink and pleasure or try, like the dramatists of our own time, to work out their own view of character and conduct. What they did was, according to their respective inclinations, to mock at all restraints; some were gross, others delicately improper.... The dramatists did not say anything they liked: they intended to glory in it and to shock those who did not like it; the diverse audiences included both aristocrats, their servants and hangers-on, a substantial middle-class segment.
These playgoers were attracted to the comedies by up-to-the-minute topical writing, by crowded and bustling plots, by the introduction of the first professional actresses, by the rise of the first celebrity actors. This period saw Aphra Behn. Charles II was an interested patron of the drama. Soon after his restoration, in 1660, he granted exclusive play-staging rights, so-called Royal patents, to the King's Company and the Duke's Company, led by two middle-aged Caroline playwrights, Thomas Killigrew and William Davenant; the patentees scrambled for performance rights to the previous generation's Jacobean and Caroline plays, which were the first necessity for economic survival before any new plays existed. Their next priority was to build new, splendid patent theatres in Drury Lane and Dorset Gardens, respectively. Striving to outdo each other in magnificence and Davenant ended up with quite similar theatres, both designed by Christopher Wren, both optimally provided for music and dancing, both fitted with moveable scenery and elaborate machines for thunder and waves.
The dramatists of the Restoration renounced the tradition of satire, as embodied by Ben Jonson, devoted themselves to the comedy of manners, which uncritically accepted the social code of the upper class. The audience of the early Restoration period was not courtly, as has sometimes been supposed, but it was quite small and could support two companies. There was no untapped reserve of occasional playgoers. Ten consecutive performances constituted; this closed system forced playwrights to be responsive to popular taste. Fashions in the drama would change week by week rather than season by season, as each company responded to the offerings of the other, new plays were urgently sought; the King's Company and the Duke's Company vied with one another for audience favour, for popular actors, for new plays, in this hectic climate the new genres of heroic drama, pathetic drama, Restoration comedy were born and flourished. Both the quantity and quality of the drama suffered when in 1682 the more successful Duke's Company absorbed the struggling King's Company, the amalgamated United Company was formed.
The production of new plays dropped off in the 1680s, affected by both the monopoly and the political situation. The influence and the incomes of the actors dropped, too. In the late 80s, predatory investors converged on the United Company, while management was taken over by the lawyer Christopher Rich. Rich attempted to finance a tangle of "farmed" shares and sleeping partners by slashing salaries and, dangerously, by abolishing the traditional perks of senior performers, who were stars with the clout to fight back; the company owners, wrote the young United Company employee Colley Cibber, "who had made a monopoly of the stage, presum'd they might impose what conditions they pleased upon their people, did not consider that they were all this while endeavouring to enslave a set of actors whom the public were inclined to support." Performers like the legendary Thomas Betterton, the tragedienne Elizabeth Barry, the rising young comedian Anne Bracegirdle had the audience on their side and, in the confidence of this, they walked out.
The actors gained a Royal "licence to perform", thus bypassing Rich's ownership of both the original Duke's and King's Company patents from 1660, formed their own cooperative company. This unique venture was set up with detailed rules for avoiding arbitrary managerial authority, regulating the ten actors' shares, the conditions of salaried employees, the sickness and retirement benefits of both categories; the cooperative had the good luck to open in 1695 with the première of William Congreve's famous Love For Love and the skill to make it a huge box-office success. London again had two competing companies, their dash to attract audiences revitalised Restoration drama, but set it on a fatal downhill slope to the lowest common denominator of public taste. Rich's company notoriously offered Bartholomew Fair-type attractions – high kickers, ropedancers, performing animals – while the co-operating actors as they appealed to snobbery by setting themselves up as the only legitimate theatre company in London, were not above retaliating with "prologues recited by boys of five, epilogues declaimed by ladies on horseback".
Restoration comedy was influenced by the introduction of the first professional actresses. Before the closing of the theatres, all female roles had been taken by boy players