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The great lords and powerful public officials of early eighteenth-century England are represented as highwaymen and thieves in this deliciously satirical ballad opera. In addition to its burlesque of the contemporary vogue for Italian operatic styles, John Gay's 1728 masterpiece ridicules a broad spectrum of political figures and social conventions—marriage, lawyers, trade, and even Walpole, the prime minister.
Depicting crime and vice at every level of society, The Beggar's Opera offers a witty and powerful indictment of greed, hypocrisy, and corruption in all social classes. When Peachum, a receiver of stolen goods, discovers that a notorious highwayman has eloped with his daughter, the wily old villain turns informer and collects the reward money as his prospective son-in-law is hauled off to prison. Events take an increasingly absurd turn as the dashing outlaw romances the jailer's daughter and effects an escape, only to return to the shadow of the gallows for a farcical climax that parodies the sentimental tragedy of the day.
John Gay (1685–1732) was an English poet and dramatist and member of the Scriblerus Club. He is best remembered for The Beggar's Opera (1728), set to music by Johann Christoph Pepusch. The characters, including Captain Macheath and Polly Peachum, became household names. Gay did nothing to conciliate the favour of the English government by his next work, The Beggar's Opera, a Ballad opera produced on the January 29, 1728 by John Rich, in which Sir Robert Walpole was caricatured. This famous piece, which was said to have made "Rich gay and Gay rich", was an innovation in many respects. The satire of the play has a double allegory. The characters of Peachum and Macheath represent the famous highwayman and gangster Jonathan Wild and the cockney housebreaker Jack Sheppard. At the same time, Jonathan Wild was understood to represent Robert Walpole, whose government had been tolerant of Wild's thievery and the South Sea directors' escape from punishment. Under cover of the thieves and highwaymen who figured in it was disguised a satire on society, for Gay made it plain that in describing the moral code of his characters he had in mind the corruptions of the governing class. Part of the success of The Beggar's Opera may have been due to the acting of Lavinia Fenton, afterwards Duchess of Bolton, in the part of Polly Peachum. The play ran for sixty-two nights. Swift is said to have suggested the subject, and Pope and Arbuthnot were constantly consulted while the work was in progress, but Gay must be regarded as the sole author. After seeing an early version of the work, Swift was optimistic of its commercial prospects but famously warned Gay to be cautious with his earnings: "I beg you will be thrifty and learn to value a shilling."
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Book Description Oliver & Boyd, 1973. Book Condition: Good. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP86314535
Book Description Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh, 1973. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Good. 1st. Non clipped d/w. Damp stain to rear board & foldover. Size: H. 8 3/4" 143pp. Hardback. Bookseller Inventory # 006227
Book Description Edward Arnold, London, 1973. Soft cover. Book Condition: Near Very Good. No Jacket. Larger format paperback xxx+238 pp. Good+/near Very Good condition (edges a little rubbed). No dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 22713
Book Description Oliver & Boyd, 1973. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. First Edition. A hardback First Edition in Very Good condition, in a Good dustjacket. This book is in stock now, in our UK premises. Photos of most of our books are available - please ask, as dustjacket and cover illustrations vary, and unless the accompanying image is marked 'Bookseller Image', it is an Abebooks Stock Image, NOT our own. Overseas buyers also note that shipping rates apply to packets of 750g and under, and should the packed weight of an item exceed this we reserve the right to ship via 'Economy', or request extra postage prior to fulfilling the order, or cancel. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000097476
Book Description OLIVER & BOYD,, Edinburgh, 1973. Hardcover. Hardback. Good Plus/Good. 1st Thus. EX-LIB USUAL STAMPS AND MARKS. 8vo. EDITED BY PETER ELFED LEWIS. A CHRONOLOGY OF THE PRINICIPAL WORKS OF JOHN GAY. TEXTUAL NOTES. COMMENTARY. BIBLIOGRAPHY.; 60683. Bookseller Inventory # 60683
Book Description Oliver & Boyd, 1973. Book Condition: Good. A+ Customer service! Satisfaction Guaranteed! Book is in Used-Good condition. Pages and cover are clean and intact. Used items may not include supplementary materials such as CDs or access codes. May show signs of minor shelf wear and contain limited notes and highlighting. Bookseller Inventory # 0050027174-2-4