John Gay's reputation as a writer has always suffered from his having been part of an extraordinary satirical quintet, the Scriblerus Club, which met in the spring of 1714 and included the two indisputably greatest satirists of the period, Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) and Alexander Pope (1688-1744). Though overshadowed by his two brilliant contemporaries, Gay was an important poet and dramatist in his own right. He produced a range of witty, mock-earnest poems and plays and one satiric masterpiece,

The Beggar's Opera

, that has continued to fascinate audiences from the time of its first performance in 1728 to the present day and can lay claim to being considered one of the principal origins of modern musical comedy. In another age Gay would have stood out as a pre-eminent satiric writer, but…

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Citation: Gordon, Ian. "John Gay". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 June 2003 [, accessed 30 May 2024.]

4976 John Gay 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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