William Wycherley: The Country Wife

(1797 words)

The Country Wife was first performed by the King's Company at Drury Lane in 1675. Wycherley was indebted to Molière's neo-classical rhymed dramas L'Ecole des maris (The School of Husbands, 1661) and L'Ecole des dames (The School of Wives, 1662) for some of the ideas and characters in The Country Wife, but the way in which he uses the characters, and his use of colloquial prose, is entirely his own. Molière's plays both concern older men who are driven by their sexual insecurity to dominate young women, who in turn outwit them. Wycherley adopts from Molière the devices of love letters, disguise, innuendos and changing identities and his major narrative source is L'Ecole des dames

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Lewcock, Dawn. "The Country Wife". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 August 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=1160, accessed 28 November 2015.]