John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, 1728-2004: adaptations and re-writings

Uwe Böker, Ines Detmers, Anna-Christina Giovanopoulos
Rodopi, 2006 - 347 páginas
When Richard Steele remarked that the greatest Evils in human Society are such as no Law can come at, he was not able to forsee the spectacular success of John Gay's satire of society, the administration of law and crime, politics, the Italian opera and other topics. Gay's The Beggar's Opera, with its mixture of witty dialogue and popular songs, was imitated by 18th century writers, criticized by those on the seats of power, but remained a favourite of the English theatre public ever since.
With N. Playfair's 1920 revival and B. Brecht's and K. Weill's 1928 Dreigroschenoper, Gay's play has been a starting-point for dramatists such as V. Havel (Zebrácká opera, 1975), W. Soyinka (Opera Wonyosi, 1977), Ch. Buarque (Ópera do Malandro, 1978), D. Fo (L'opera dello sghignazzo, 1981), A. Ayckbourn (A Chorus of Disapproval, 1984), as well as others such as Latouche, Hacks, Fassbinder, Dear, Wasserman, and Lepage.
Apart from contributions by international scholars analysing the above-named plays, the editors' introduction covers other dramatists that have payed hommage to Gay.
This interdisciplinary collection of essays is of particular interest for scholars working in the field of drama/theatre studies, the eighteenth century, contemporary drama, postcolonial studies, and politics and the stage.

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Calendar of Important Adaptations and ReWritings 19202004
The Beggars Opera and its Criminal Law Context
Horst Höhne
AnnaChristina Giovanopoulos
Frank Engelmann
Klaus Schuhmacher
Uwe Böker
Wumi Raji
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Página 49 - The labour of his body and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever, then, he removes out of the state that nature hath provided and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with it, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property.
Página 80 - I never heard the old song of Percy and Douglas that I found not my heart moved more than with a trumpet...
Página 49 - Though the earth and all inferior creatures be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his.
Página 134 - That vice and folly ought to be attacked wherever they could be met with, and especially when they were placed in high and conspicuous stations of life.
Página 51 - IT is a trite but true observation, that examples work more forcibly on the mind than precepts: and if this be just in what is odious and blameable, it is more strongly so in what is amiable and praiseworthy.
Página 61 - Through the whole piece you may observe such a similitude of manners in high and low life, that it is difficult to determine whether (in the fashionable vices) the fine gentlemen imitate the gentlemen of the road, or the gentlemen of the road the fine gentlemen.- Had the Play remain'd, as I at first intended, it would have carried a most excellent moral.
Página 41 - I have ever hated all nations, professions, and communities, and all my love is towards individuals; for instance, I hate the tribe of lawyers, but I love Counsellor Such-a-one and Judge Such-a-one; so with physicians — I will not speak of my own trade — soldiers, English, Scotch, French, and the rest. But principally I hate and detest that animal called man, although I heartily love John, Peter, Thomas, and so forth.
Página 98 - Opera the gangs of robbers were evidently multiplied. Both these decisions are surely exaggerated. The play, like many others, was plainly written only to divert, without any moral purpose, and is therefore not likely to do good; nor can it be conceived, without more speculation than life requires or admits, to be productive of much evil.
Página 44 - But general satire in times of general vice has no force and is no punishment : people have ceased to be ashamed of it when so many are joined with them ; and it is only by hunting one or two from the herd that any examples can be made.
Página 41 - I like the scheme of our meeting after distresses and dispersions; but the chief end I propose to myself in all my labours, is to vex the world, rather than divert it ; and if I could compass that design without hurting my own person or fortune, I would be the most indefatigable writer you have ever seen, without reading.

Acerca del autor (2006)

Uwe Böker has been Professor of English Literature at the Technische Universität Dresden till his retirement in 2006. His fields of research include the history of genres, the relationship between crime and literature as well as the history of publishing and bookselling.
Ines Detmers is currently doing research on contemporary British women's poetry, narratology, and the theory of genre, teaching English literature at the Technische Universität; she is also affiliated with the Gießener Graduierten Kolleg (GGK).
Anna-Christina Giovanopoulos received her Ph.D. from Dresden in 2000 with a dissertation on American Literature in the GDR. She now teaches at the Dresden English Department. Her main areas of research are censorship (eighteenth and twentieth centuries), with a special focus on the public sphere, legal culture and literature.

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