Collection No. [#] The Critic, by Richard Brinsley Sheridan Publication details Author: Sheridan, Richard Brinsley



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Collection No. [#] The Critic, by Richard Brinsley Sheridan
1. Publication details
Author: Sheridan, Richard Brinsley

Author dates: 1751-1816

Title: The Critic
First played: 1779

First published: 1781, for T. Becket [etc.] 98 p.

C18th availability: 3-act version available from ECCO (1781)

http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/ECCO?dd=0&locID=utoronto_main&d1=0050401700&srchtp=b&c=9&SU=All&d2=2&docNum=CW3315252539&b0=the+critic+sheridan&h2=1&vrsn=1.0&b1=KE&d6=2&ste=10&dc=tiPG&stp=Author&d4=0.33&n=10&d5=d6
Modern availability: Available from LION (1996)

http://lion.chadwyck.com/toc.do?action=new&divLevel=0&mapping=toc&area=Drama&id=Z000119398&forward=tocMarc&DurUrl=Yes
2. Genre / subgenre: Burlesque
3. Trend(s): Contemporary Satire
4. Brief Synopsis
5. Secondary commentary

5a. Jeffares, A. Norman. ‘Sheridan, Richard Brinsley (1751–1816)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 29 May 2008. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/25367

Sheridan followed it [The Camp] with The Critic, exposing dramatic conventions and clichés, in effect teasing the audience into thinking about the issues involved while mocking contemporary journalism and well-known individuals.
5b. Auburn, Mark S. ‘Richard Brinsley Sheridan: 1751-July 7, 1816.’ Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 89: Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Dramatists, Third Series. Edited by Paula R. Backscheider, University of Rochester. The Gale Group, 1989. Literature Resource Center. 29 May 2008. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/LitRC?vrsn=3&OP=contains&locID=utoronto_main&srchtp=athr&ca=1&c=1&ste=6&tab=1&tbst=arp&ai=U13039685&n=10&docNum=H1200003616&ST=sheridan+richard+brinsley&bConts=16047
Hence, The Critic (30 October 1779), a long afterpiece after performed following a representation of Hamlet and destined to replace The Rehearsal in the repertoire. The Critic has no plot. Instead, it blends a variety of briefly drawn situations to burlesque the theater, theatrical literature, and the audience itself. In the first act, theatrical hangers-on Mr. and Mrs. Dangle discuss news of the Theatres Royal, receive critic Sneer, thin-skinned author Sir Fretful Plagiary (played as a caricature of Georgian dramatist Richard Cumberland in the original performances), a troupe of Italian singers for audition, and Mr. Puff, author of "The Spanish Armada," a tragedy then supposed to be in rehearsal…But the flavor of this appetizer bears little relationship to the main course of the farce, acts two and three, in which Mr. Dangle and Mr. Sneer observe a rehearsal of Puff's play, comment upon is sardonically, and serve only to direct the audience's attention to the most egregious of its absurdities.
6. Overview of varieties / dialects
7. Variety: Interpreter

7a. Sample of dialect

[page 29]

INTERPRETER.

Je dis madame, ja'i l'honneur to introduce & de vous demander votre protection pour le Signor Patticcio Retornello & pour sa charmante famille.

INTERPRETER.



Madame--- me interpret .---C'est à dire---in English---quils vous prient de leur faire l'honneur---

Mrs. DANGLE.

---I say again, gentlemen, I don't understand a word you say.

Signor PASTICCIO.

Questo Signore spiegheró.

INTERPRETER.

Oui--- me interpret .---nous avons les lettres de recommendation pour Monsieur Dangle de---

7b.1 Orthography

7b.2 Grammar: “me interpret”

7b.3 Vocabulary: entirely French, except for “to introduce” and “me interpret”

7c. Dialect area represented

7d. Density of dialect representation

7e. Location of dialect

7f. Characteristics of dialect speakers: the interpreter believes he can speak English; he is translating Italian into French, to the Dangles’ confusion

7g. Consistency of representation: consistent
7. Variety: Italian family

7a. Sample of dialect

[page 29]

Signor PASTICCIO.

Ah! Vosignoria noi vi preghiamo di favoritevi colla vostra protezione.

1st. DAUGHTER.

Vosignoria fatevi questi grazzie.

2d DAUGHTER.

Si Signora.

Signor PASTICCIO.



Questo Signore spiegheró.

Signor PASTICCIO.



La Contessa Rondeau e nostra padrona.

3d DAUGHTER.

Si, padre, & mi Ladi Fuge .
7b.1 Orthography

7b.2 Grammar

7b.3 Vocabulary: Italian

7c. Dialect area represented: Italy

7d. Density of dialect representation

7e. Location of dialect

7f. Characteristics of dialect speakers: Italian family looking for work (to sing Italian opera)

7g. Consistency of representation: consistent


7. Variety: Mr. Puff

7a. Sample of dialect

[page 32]

PUFF.


Mr. Sneer is this? Sir, he is a gentleman whom I have long panted for the honour of knowing---a gentleman whose critical talents and transcendant judgment---

SNEER.


---Dear Sir---

DANGLE.


Nay, don't be modest, Sneer, my friend Puff only talks to you in the stile of his profession.

[Page 33 ]


SNEER.

His profession!

PUFF.

Yes, Sir; I make no secret of the trade I follow ---among friends and brother authors, Dangle knows I love to be frank on the subject, and to advertise myself vivâ voce .---I am, Sir, a Practitioner in Panegyric, or to speak more plainly---a Professor of the Art of Puffing, at your service---or any body else's.



--
[page 34]

PUFF.


[100]  Even the Auctioneers now,---the Auctioneers I say, tho' the rogues have lately got some credit for their language---not an article of the merit their's!---take them out of their Pulpits, and they are as dull as Catalogues.---No, Sir; ---'twas I first enrich'd their style---'twas I first taught them to crowd their advertisements with panegyrical superlatives, each epithet rising above the other---like the Bidders in their own Auction-rooms! From ME they learn'd to enlay their phraseology with variegated chips of exotic metaphor: by me too their inventive faculties

[Page 35 ]

were called forth.---Yes Sir, by ME they were instructed to clothe ideal walls with gratuitous fruits---to insinuate obsequious rivulets into visionary groves---to teach courteous shrubs to nod their approbation of the grateful soil! or on emergencies to raise upstart oaks, where there never had been an acorn; to create a delightful vicinage without the assistance of a neighbour; or fix the temple of Hygeia in the fens of Lincolnshire!
7b.1 Orthography

7b.2 Grammar

7b.3 Vocabulary: “viva voce”; “panted for the honour of knowing”; “transcendant”; “Practitioner in Panegyric”; p. 35 uses natural terms (fruits, rivulets, groves, shrubs, soil, oaks, acorn, vicinage, fens); adjectives: “ideal”, “gratuitous”, “obsequious”, “courteous” “upstart”, “delightful”

7c. Dialect area represented

7d. Density of dialect representation

7e. Location of dialect

7f. Characteristics of dialect speakers: playwright, or “Professor of the Art of Puffing”; Puff speaks with a self-described elevated tone, employing “panegyrical superlatives” and “variegated chips of exotic metaphor” (a comment on C18th rhetorical strategies)

7g. Consistency of representation: inconsistent; aside from the above purple patches, Puff speaks in fairly standard English


8. Narrative comments on dialects and varieties
9. Other points of interest:
Note: field 7 is recursive; where several varieties are represented a separate record is completed for each variety."


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