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Elizabeth Inchbald, nee Simpson (1753-1821) was an English novelist, actress, and dramatist. At the age of 19 she went to London in order to act. In 1772 she agreed to marry the actor Joseph Inchbald (1735-1779). For four years the couple toured Scotland with West Digges's theatre company, a demanding life. After Joseph Inchbald's death in 1779, she continued to act for several years, in Dublin, London, and elsewhere. Between 1784 and 1805 she had nineteen of her comedies, sentimental dramas, and farces (many of which were translations from the French) performed at London theatres. Eighteen of her plays were published, though she wrote several more; the exact number is in dispute though most recent commentators claim between 21 and 23. Her two novels have been frequently reprinted. She also did considerable editorial and critical work. A four-volume autobiography was destroyed before her death upon the advice of her confessor, but she left some of her diaries. The latter are currently held at the Folger Shakespeare Library and an edition was recently published.
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