Ben Jonson’s

The Alchemist

(1610) is often described by modern editors as one of his funniest plays, a claim that is supported by its enduring popularity with theatre audiences.

The Alchemist

had its London opening on 12 June 1610, and was so successful with seventeenth-century audiences that the original acting company, the King’s Men, continued to stage it at regular intervals until Parliament closed the theatres in 1642. For the next twenty years the only performances of

The Alchemist

were much-abbreviated short skits, but with the re-opening of the theatres in 1660 Jonson’s comedy made a triumphant return to the stage; in 1661, for instance, the diarist Samuel Pepys praised it as “a most incomparable play”.

The Alchemist

was performed almost continuously until the start of…

2807 words

Citation: Preedy, Chloe Kathleen. "The Alchemist". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 April 2012 [, accessed 14 July 2024.]

1620 The Alchemist 3 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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