John Gay, The What D'Ye Call It

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The What D'Ye Call It

, described by Gay as a “tragic-comi-pastoral farce” [


], received its first performance at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, on 23 February 1715. It was Gay's most successful play after

The Beggar's Opera

[see separate entry], receiving twenty one successive performances and going on to be published in six different editions in his lifetime. In his “Preface” Gay claims to be the “first who have introduced this kind of dramatic entertainment upon the stage,” and argues that the whole art of the play “lies in interweaving the several kinds of the drama into each other, so that they cannot be distinguished or separated.” The play is a farce, containing a play-within-a-play, spoofing each of the literary kinds named in the sub-title. In the “Preface”…

1795 words

Citation: Gordon, Ian. "The What D'Ye Call It". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 February 2004 [, accessed 21 May 2024.]

8131 The What D'Ye Call It 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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