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Author photo. From <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Richard_Sheridan.jpg">Wikimedia Commons</a>. Richard Brinsley Sheridan, by sir Joshua Reynolds.

From Wikimedia Commons. Richard Brinsley Sheridan, by sir Joshua Reynolds.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1) [1751–1816]

This page covers the author of The School for Scandal.

For other authors named Richard Brinsley Sheridan, see the disambiguation page.

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The son of Thomas Sheridan, the Irish actor and theater manager, Richard Brinsley Sheridan began writing plays as a youngster in Bath. He went on to become one of the most successful playwrights of the later eighteenth century, manager of the Drury Lane Theater, and also a politician and orator of some note in the House of Commons. Along with his friends David Garrick (seeVol. 3) and Oliver Goldsmith, Sheridan was a member of the Literary Club of Samuel Johnson, having been proposed for membership by Johnson himself. Like Goldsmith, Sheridan also attacks "The Sentimental Muse" of weeping comedy. In his best-known play, The School for Scandal (1777), Sheridan revives the Restoration comedy of manners with its portrait of the beau monde and its deflation of hypocrisy. The play is indebted to William Congreve as well as to Moliere (see Vol. 2), and the picture of society is based on Bath and London. In The Rivals (1775), Sheridan amuses himself with the language games of Mrs. Malaprop and her "nice derangement of epitaphs." The allusions are consistently literary, as in her simile "as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile." Sheridan's acute ear for banalities and truisms is best seen in The Critic (1779), a burlesque of sentimental and inflated plays as well as self-important criticism. The play ridicules "false Taste and brilliant Follies of modern dramatic Composition." Sheridan's sparking dialogue, lively scenes, and masterful dramatic construction have proved to be enduringly popular. (Bowker Author Biography)
— biography from The School for Scandal
… (more)
The School for Scandal 966 copies, 17 reviews
The Rivals 475 copies, 5 reviews
The Critic 50 copies, 1 review
Plays 14 copies
The Duenna 8 copies
Poems 1 copy
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Richard Brinsley Sheridan is still popular today for his satirical, witty comedies of manners such as The Rivals (1775) and The School for Scandal (1777). He also served as a Member of Parliament for 32 years. He was part of an acting and literary dynasty: His mother Frances Sheridan, née Chamberlaine, was a playwright and novelist, and his father Thomas Sheridan was an actor-manager who went on to write several books on education. Many of his descendants, his two sisters, and some of their descendants also became writers.

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