That’s from a picture of a production of The Way of the World given in Carmel, CA in 2003.
Thursday, March 8, 2012


Congreve is best known for his comedies, though he did write one tragedy. The plots all center around young men in pursuit of young women, and the attendant complications, usually financial.

The Old Bachelor. A farce with pretend marriages, misogyny, etc.

The Double Dealer. The most striking thing to me was that Mrs. Plyant had been married to her husband for three years, and had apparently refused all of his advances since her marriage. One Puritan critic of the stage said that there were four women in the work, and three of them were whores. That’s a true assessment.*

Love for Love. Valentine loves Angelica, but has lost £4,000 (roughly $400,000 to $1,600,000 in current dollars). He makes a deal with his father to cover his debts. Angelica comes up with a way for Valentine to wriggle out of the deal with his father.

The Way of the World. This is almost purely a case of matrimonial adventuring. What little love there is between the two parties is centered more on the legal and social niceties of the relationship.

* Of course in the era of Obama and feminism we’re not supposed to call women sluts or whores even if their behavior is sluttish or whorish. Poor Rush.