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The Way of the World [NOOK Book]


"Occasionally a book comes to hand that is so satisfactory that one would not change it in the slightest detail. Miss Lynch's edition of the greatest of all Restoration comedies of manners in such a book. . . . A model for 20th-century editors." -Choice
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The Way of the World

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"Occasionally a book comes to hand that is so satisfactory that one would not change it in the slightest detail. Miss Lynch's edition of the greatest of all Restoration comedies of manners in such a book. . . . A model for 20th-century editors." -Choice
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Editorial Reviews


"Occasionally a book comes to hand that is so satisfactory that one would not change it in the slightest detail. Miss Lynch's edition of the greatest of all Restoration comedies of manners in such a book. . . . A model for 20th-century editors."—Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781775412540
  • Publisher: The Floating Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,226,104
  • File size: 226 KB

Meet the Author

William Congreve (1670-1729) was an English playwright, and one of the most sophisticated exponent of the comedy of manners during the Restoration era. Congreve wrote five plays before he was 30. His first, The Old Bachelor, was an enormous success at Drury Lane in 1693, in a production starring Thomas Betterton and Mrs Bracegirdle. According to Congreve he wrote the play to amuse himself during a convalescence. The Double Dealer (1694) was not so well received but in 1695 he produced another hit, Love for Love (again with Betterton and Mrs Bracegirdle), to open the new Lincoln's Inns Fields Theatre. Its success secured his reputation and earned him a share in the theatre. His promise to write at least one play a year for the theatre of which he was now a part owner, was unfortunately not fulfilled. Congreve's only tragedy, The Mourning Bride (1697), was his most popular work during his lifetime but is now rarely seen. It starred Mrs Bracegirdle as Almeria, a part that became much coveted by tragic actresses. In 1700 The Way of the World - a highly sophisticated and complex work now considered his masterpiece - met with a cool reception. This failure, together with his continued discomfort at having been attacked in Jeremy Collier's influential pamphlet A Short View of the Profaneness and Immorality of the English Stage (1698), persuaded him to retire. (Congreve had replied to Collier with little effect in Amendments of Mr Collier's False and Imperfect Citations.) Voltaire later visited him and accused him of wasting his genius. Congreve told him he wished to be visited as a gentleman, not as an author. To this Voltaire replied that if Mr Congreve were only a gentleman, he would not have bothered to call upon him. Congreve was by all accounts a warm man who won the love and respect of his many friends. John Dryden called him the equal of Shakespeare, Alexander Pope dedicated his translation of the Iliad to him in 1715, and John Gay called him an 'unreproachful man'. When he died he left nearly all of his £10,000 estate to his mistress, Henrietta, the second Duchess of Marlborough, who arranged for his burial in Westminster Abbey.
Brian Gibbons is a distinguished scholar and editor of Shakespeare and other early modern dramatists. He is the author of many critical studies and a General Editor of the New Mermaids and the New Cambridge Shakespeare series.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2008

    Wake Up America

    Excellent read. Stayed up all night reading! Truth will OUT. Suskind proves it!! Hundreds of Thousands of lives later, Trillions of Dollars later. ALL ON LIES!! NON DARE CALL IT TREASON OR DO THEY!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2003

    The Way of the World

    Author William Congreve manages to capture the plight and candor of the upper class during 17th century England. While there is no real-depth to the characters portrayed in the play, Congreve manages to keep the play comical enough to warrent the attention of the reader. This is play is truely a comedy of manners, as Congreve utilizes subtle Old English dialect to poke fun at the upper-class structure he is writing about. While the quips may not be easily discernable, they are there and as long as the reader does not get bogged down with the language barrier, they are in for an enjoyable read. The plot centers around money and marriage, with Lady Wishfort wishing to be courted by Sir Rowland. While some wish to be courted, others do not, as is the case with Mrs. Millament, who wished not to be married for fear of losing her freedom as a woman. I enjoyed the book, although I have read better, but it is still worth the time and effort to consume. I enjoyed how Congreve subtly hinted at various aspects of life throughout the play (for instance his referral to how marriage was essentially the end of the relationship, or the fire that is present in the relationship). Again, at times the language is a bit hard to discern, and to some the play may seem dry and boring. If you are a fan, however, of British Literature and a fan of a comedy with a twist, then this book will suit you very nicely.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2003

    Very Disappointing

    The Way of the World by William Congreve could have been a lot better. I did not enjoy reading it at all. I found it to be very boring, difficult to comprehend, and humorless. I could not wait to get to end of the book so that I could literally stop reading it. The book is very complicated to understand, I had to read it twice to get a clear understanding of the plot. It took me a while to figure out who was the good guy and who was the bad guy. In addition to that, the relation between Mirabell and Millamant was difficult to figure out as well. Many of the jokes were not funny and the storyline was uninteresting. Congreve made the book too complex, it would have been much better if the book was less difficult to read. The way of the world is boring. The storyline is terrible and very hard to follow. The jokes make no sense and many of the discussions are ridiculous. I lost interest as I continued to read because the story just seemed to drag along. This book is the worst example of restoration comedy I have ever read and I am not going to recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading good books. The language was hard to comprehend and that is what made the play difficult to follow along with. The plot is not easy to unveil, the jokes are hard to get, and the sarcasm is overlooked because of the complex language Congreve used to express the messages throughout the play. Language is very important in literature and I think William Congreve went overboard by making the language hard to understand in this restoration comedy. If the book was less complicated it would have been more humorous to the readers. I personally did not find many jokes in the play, I found a couple of them but they were not very funny at all. For example, the marriage contract that Mirabell and Millamant created was stupid and unrealistic. The contract was suppose to be hilarious but it exactly very idiotic.In closing, I did not enjoy reading the way of the world. I feel that William Congreve should have done a better job writing it. This is my first time reading one of his books and I do not look forward anymore of his works in the future. I rate this book with two stars because it started out good but I lost interest as the play continued.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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