William Congreve: The Way of the World

(2339 words)
  • David Roberts (Birmingham City University)

Since its premiere at the Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theatre on March 5th 1700, The Way of the World has remained among the best known and most puzzling comedies of the Restoration period. Great things were expected after Congreve’s very popular Love for Love and The Mourning Bride, but in his Roscius Anglicanus of 1708, John Downes recalled that “being too keen a Satyr, [The Way of the World] had not the Success the Company Expected”. Certainly the “world” in question runs on dubious moral fuel, but others found further cause for complaint. One week after the premiere, Lady Marow claimed there was “no plot in it”, a remark to raise eyebrows among modern audiences and readers used …

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Roberts, David. "The Way of the World". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 April 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8107, accessed 01 October 2016.]