Written at the very end of the seventeenth century, The Phanaticks (previously known as The Assembly) satirises in dramatic form contemporary political and religious affairs, presenting some well-known figures in the thinnest of disguises. Overtly a comedy about two young women opposed by such forces as the Governer of Edinburgh Castle (Lord Huffy), it is an excoriating attack on the hypocrisy and political chicanery of Scottish religious sects, alongside its romance and sexual innuendo. The author, Archibald Pitcairne, was a celebrated physician and wit; this work demonstrates his talent for controversy (he was ejected from the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, an institution which he helped to found, after a dispute about his theoretical approaches to medicine). Indeed, so provocative was it deemed that despite being printed in 1722 and 1752, there is no record of any contemporary performance.
This first modern edition is based on an early manuscript, with corrections possibly in Pitcairne's own hand; it is presented with full contextual and historical notes.
John MacQueen is Emeritus Professor of English, University of Edinburgh.
Table of ContentsForewordIntroductionBibliographyThe Phanaticks [The Assembly]CommentaryAppendix I, The PrefaceAppendix II