The Way Of The World A Comedy PDF

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The Way Of The World

My Lord,—Whether the world will arraign me of vanity or not, that I have presumed to dedicate this comedy to your lordship.

I am yet in doubt; though it may be, it is some degree of vanity even to doubt of it. 

One who has at any time had the honor of your lordship’s conversation, cannot be supposed to think very meanly of that which he would prefer to your perusal. 

Yet it was to incur the imputation of too much sufficiency to pretend to such merit as might abide the test of your lordship’s censure.

Whatever value may be wanting to this play while yet it is mine, will be sufficiently made up to it when it once becomes your lordship’s.

And is my security, that I cannot have overrated it more by my dedication than your lordship will dignify it by your patronage.

That it succeeded on the stage was almost beyond my expectation; for but little of it was prepared for that general taste which seems now to be predominant in the palates of our audience.

Those characters which are meant to be ridiculed in most of our comedies are of fools so gross, that in my humble opinion they should rather disturb than divert the well-natured and reflecting part of an audience; they are rather objects of charity than contempt, and instead of moving our mirth, they ought very often to excite our compassion.

This reflection moved me to design some characters which should appear ridiculous not so much through a natural folly (which is incorrigible, and therefore not proper for the stage) as through an affected wit: a wit which, at the same time that it is affected, is also false. 

As there is some difficulty in the formation of a character of this nature, there is some hazard which attends the progress of its success upon the stage.

For many come to a play so overcharged with criticism, that they very often let fly their censure, when through their rashness they have mistaken their aim. 

This I had occasion lately to observe: for this play had been acted two or three days before some of these hasty judges could find the leisure to distinguish betwixt the character of a Witwoud and a Truewit.

AuthorMr. Congreve
Language English
No. of Pages88
PDF Size11.2 MB

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