John Gay, Polly: An Opera. Being the Second Part of The Beggar's Opera

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Gay wrote


in the second half of 1728, as a sequel to his hit success,

The Beggar's Opera

[see separate entry], which had broken all theatrical box-office records in London by running for sixty-two consecutive performances earlier in the year. He built


around the sentimental heroine of

The Beggar's Opera

, Polly Peachum, who had become the toast of the town, depicting her further adventures in the West Indies.

The Beggar's Opera

, however, had been too much of a political

cause célèbre

for government comfort, and, although Sir Robert Walpole, the Prime Minister, at whom much of the satire had been aimed, had succeeded in laughing off most of the jibes against him, he was, nevertheless, determined not to risk a re-run. Accordingly, he ensured that the Duke of Grafton, the Lord…

1524 words

Citation: Gordon, Ian. "Polly: An Opera. Being the Second Part of The Beggar's Opera". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 February 2004 [, accessed 21 May 2024.]

2626 Polly: An Opera. Being the Second Part of The Beggar's Opera 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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