Robert Dodsley, The Toy-Shop

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This short, one-act play, or “dramatic satire”, as Robert Dodsley entitles it on the title page, was first produced at Covent Garden, as an “afterpiece”, by John Rich on 3 February 1735. The play was an immediate success, running to at least thirty-four performances and ten published editions before the end of the year. This enormous vogue is difficult to account for today, for it seems a slight work, lacking plot or satiric edge. It is more of a vignette, or dramatised episode, than a one-act play, with its appeal at the time probably lying as much in its performance as in its content.

What action there is takes place in a toy-shop. The master of the shop, the only character developed in any detail, is described as a “general satirist, yet not rude nor ill-natured.” He

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Citation: Gordon, Ian. "The Toy-Shop". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 December 2005 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=16871, accessed 21 May 2024.]

16871 The Toy-Shop 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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