Reference > Cambridge History > The Age of Dryden > The Restoration Drama > The Confederacy
  The Provok’d Wife Vanbrugh and Perrault  


The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

VI. The Restoration Drama.

§ 14. The Confederacy.

Like many others of his contemporaries, Vanbrugh did a vast deal of journey-work. He botched a comedy of Fletcher’s; he translated plays from Boursault, from d’Ancourt, from Molière, and, through Le Sage, from the Spanish. None of his versions is memorable, save The Confederacy (1705), englished from d’Ancourt’s Les Bourgeoises à la Mode, and completely transformed in the process. As mere sleight of hand, The Confederacy claims our admiration. Closely as it follows the original, it is racy of our soil. As you read it, you think, not of the French original, but of Middleton and Dekker. It is as though Vanbrugh had breathed an English soul into a French body. Though he added but three scenes, though he never strays far, even in word, from the prose of d’Ancourt, he has handled his material with so deft a hand that he has made another man’s play his own and his country’s. Dick Amlet and Brass are of the true breed; Mrs. Amlet would not have disgraced the earlier age of comedy; and the quickness of the dialogue, the speed of the action carried the play for many a year down the current of success.   26

  The Provok’d Wife Vanbrugh and Perrault  
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