John Dryden: Don Sebastian

(3025 words)

First Performance and Publication

Don Sebastian, King of Portugal was written for the Theatre Royal, London, in 1689 by the playwright, former poet laureate, and Catholic convert John Dryden (1631-1701), after a seven-year absence from the stage [note 1]. It was first staged by the United Company in early December 1689. Despite his precarious political position after the overthrow of his patron King James II in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Dryden’s new play was a success [note 2], but considering it too long to comply with the quality of “a publick entertainment on the Theatre […] confin’d to time” (Preface, 66: 27-29) [note 3], Dryden cut some 1200 lines from the …

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Calvi, Lisanna. "Don Sebastian". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 March 2011
[, accessed 30 June 2015.]