Wonderful blog! Highly recommend.
By the 1770s, English theatre wasn’t quite as rollicking as before. The success of John Gay’s awesomely satirical play The Beggar’s Opera brought forth that rat bastard known as censorship in the form of The Licensing Act of 1737. This gave the Lord Chamberlain power to censor plays as he saw fit. This power wouldn’t be revoked until 1968. Yay, freedom!
By and large, theatre of this time promoted virtuous heroines who resisted temptation, rather than court it. This trend also existed in prose literature, the major example being Richardson’s Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded. The plot is something else. Innocent 15 year-old maid Pamela’s employer (Mr. B)’s mom dies. He then spends much of the novel trying to rape her. When Pamela bravely resists this, Mr. B stops acting all Weinstein-y (or is it Spacey-y?) and behaves like a proper gentleman with an honest proposal…
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