Feminist Comedy: Women Playwrights of London

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Willow White, Feminist Comedy: Women Playwrights of London, University of Delaware Press, 2024.

Feminist Comedy: Women Playwrights of London identifies the eighteenth-century comedic stage as a key site of feminist critique, practice, and experimentation. While the history of feminism and comedy is undeniably vexed, by focusing on five women playwrights of the latter half of the eighteenth century--Catherine Clive, Frances Brooke, Frances Burney, Hannah Cowley, and Elizabeth Inchbald--this book demonstrates that stage comedy was crucial to these women’s professional success in a male-dominated industry and reveals a unifying thread of feminist critique that connects their works. Though male detractors denied women’s comic ability throughout the era, eighteenth-century women playwrights were on the cutting edge of comedy and their work had important feminist influence that can be traced to today’s stages and screens.



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