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The Stolen Heiress or, The Salamanca Doctor Outplotted   By: (1667?-1723)

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In Susanna Centlivre's captivating play, The Stolen Heiress or, The Salamanca Doctor Outplotted, readers are transported into a world of intricate disguises, clever schemes, and unexpected alliances. Set in the bustling streets of 18th-century London, Centlivre weaves a tale filled with romantic entanglements, mistaken identities, and the relentless pursuit of love and fortune.

The story revolves around the character of Olivia, an heiress who finds herself at the center of a complicated web of deception. When Olivia's fortune falls into the hands of an unscrupulous guardian, she faces the challenge of reclaiming her rightful inheritance. Determined to outfox her manipulator, she assumes various disguises, taking on the roles of a beauty salon owner, a Spanish doctor, and even a poor country cousin. Along the way, Olivia encounters a lively cast of characters, each with their own motivations and desires.

Centlivre's skillful characterization breathes life into her story, offering readers a diverse array of personalities. From the cunning and quick-thinking Olivia to the dashing yet conniving Count Garcia, each character adds depth to the narrative. The dialogue, while steeped in the manners and language of the time, remains accessible and engaging. Centlivre balances humor and wit with moments of heartfelt emotion, allowing readers to connect with the characters on a deeper level.

One of the highlights of The Stolen Heiress is the intricate plotting, which keeps readers eagerly flipping pages. As the layers of deception are peeled away one by one, Centlivre reveals unexpected twists and turns, ensuring the narrative never loses momentum. She effortlessly navigates the complexities of the intersecting storylines, creating a captivating tapestry of intrigue and suspense.

In addition to its engaging plot, The Stolen Heiress serves as a social commentary on the position of women in society during the 18th century. Olivia's journey from a vulnerable heiress to a resourceful mastermind highlights the limited agency and autonomy women faced in this era. Centlivre skillfully explores themes of gender roles, societal expectations, and the constraints placed upon women, shedding light on the inequalities present at the time.

Overall, The Stolen Heiress or, The Salamanca Doctor Outplotted is a delightful and entertaining play that showcases Susanna Centlivre's mastery of comedic storytelling. A thrilling blend of romance, deception, and social critique, it offers readers an immersive experience into the world of 18th-century London. With its engaging characters, intricate plotting, and thought-provoking themes, this play is a must-read for fans of historical drama and lovers of classic literature.

First Page:

THE STOLEN HEIRESS:

OR THE Salamanca Doctor Outplotted.

A COMEDY.

Drawn from:

THE WORKS OF THE CELEBRATED Mrs. CENTLIVRE.

VOLUME ONE

LONDON:

Printed for J. KNAPTON, C. HITCH and L. HAWES, J. and R. TONSON, S. CROWDER and Co. W. BATHOE, T. LOWNDS, T. CASLON, and G. KEARSLY.

M.DCC.LXI.

PROLOGUE.

Spoke by Mrs. PRINCE.

Our Author fearing his Success to Day, Sends me to bribe your Spleen against his Play, And if a Ghost in Nelly's Time cou'd sooth ye, He hopes in these that Flesh and Blood may move ye, Nay, what is more, to win your Hearts, a Maid! If ever such a Thing the Play house had. For Cold and Shade the waxen Blossom's born, Not to endure the Regions of the Sun, Let every Beau then his Applause begin, And think the Rarity was born for him: Your true bred Knights for fancy'd Dames advance, And think it Gallantry to break a Launce, And shall a real Damsel e'er be found To plead her Cause in vain on English Ground, Unless that dreadful Prophecy's begun, In which Seven Women are to share one Man! But thanks my Stars that Danger I disown, For in the Pit, I see 'tis one to one. And while the Fair can all their Rights enjoy, We'll keep our Title up to being Coy, So let your Praise be noisy as your Wine, And grant your Favours, if you'd purchase mine... Continue reading book >>




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