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The Covent Garden Theatre, or Pasquin Turn'd Drawcansir   By: (1697?-1797)

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First Page:

The Augustan Reprint Society



OR Pasquin Turn'd Drawcansir




Publication Number 116 WILLIAM ANDREWS CLARK MEMORIAL LIBRARY University of California, Los Angeles 1965


Earl R. Miner, University of California, Los Angeles Maximillian E. Novak, University of California, Los Angeles Lawrence Clark Powell, Wm. Andrews Clark Memorial Library


Richard C. Boys, University of Michigan John Butt, University of Edinburgh James L. Clifford, Columbia University Ralph Cohen, University of California, Los Angeles Vinton A. Dearing, University of California, Los Angeles Arthur Friedman, University of Chicago Louis A. Landa, Princeton University Samuel H. Monk, University of Minnesota Everett T. Moore, University of California, Los Angeles James Sutherland, University College, London H. T. Swedenberg, Jr., University of California, Los Angeles


Edna C. Davis, Clark Memorial Library


Although of considerable interest in itself, this hitherto unpublished manuscript play is reprinted in facsimile in response to requests by members of the Society for a manuscript facsimile of use in graduate seminars.


The Larpent collection of the Huntington Library contains the manuscript copy of Charles Macklin's COVENT GARDEN THEATRE, OR PASQUIN TURN'D DRAWCANSIR in two acts (Larpent 96) which is here reproduced in facsimile.[1] It is an interesting example of that mid eighteenth century phenomenon, the afterpiece, from a period when not only Shakespearean stock productions but new plays as well were accompanied by such farcical appendages.[2] This particular afterpiece is worth reproducing not only for its catalogue of the social foibles of the age, but as an illustration of satirical writing for the stage at a time when dramatic taste often wavered toward the sentimental. It appears that it has not been previously printed.

As an actor Charles Macklin is remembered for his Scottish dress in the role of Macbeth, for his realistic portrayal of Shylock, for his quarrel with Garrick in 1743, and for his private lectures on acting at the Piazza in Covent Garden. He is less well known than he deserves as a dramatist although there has been a recent revival of interest in his plays stimulated by a biography by William W. Appleton, Charles Macklin: An Actor's Life (Harvard University Press, 1960) and evidenced in "A Critical Study of the Extant Plays of Charles Macklin" by Robert R. Findlay (PhD. Thesis at the State University of Iowa, 1963). Appleton mentions that Macklin lost books and manuscripts in a shipwreck in 1771 (p. 150) and that play manuscripts may also have disappeared in the sale of his books and papers at the end of his long life at the turn of the eighteenth century. It is possible that more of Macklin's work may come to light, like The Fortune Hunters which appeared in the National Library in Dublin. Until a complete critical edition of Macklin's plays appears, making possible better assessment of his merit, such farces as THE COVENT GARDEN THEATRE will have to stand as an example of one genre of eighteenth century theatrical productions.

There are many reasons why Macklin's plays are less well known than is warranted by his personality and acting ability during his long association with the British stage. His first play, King Henry VII , a tragedy hastily put together to capitalize on the anti Jacobite sentiment following the invasion attempt of 1745, was an ambitious failure... Continue reading book >>

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