"Each generation needs to be introduced to the culture of the past and to reinterpret it in its own ways. This series re-examines the important English dramatists of earlier centuries in the light of new information, new interests and new attitudes. The books are written for students, theatre-goers and general readers who want an up-to-date view of the plays and dramatists, with an emphasis on drama as theatre, in the context of their stage, social and political history. The emphasis is on plays in performance, with attention given to what is known about acting styles, changing interpretations, the stages and theatres of the time and theatre economics. The books will be relevant to all those studying literature, theatre and cultural history." "This study of Congreve's plays locates his work firmly in the context of the literary, theatrical, aesthetic and political ideas of his age. Congreve is shown to be a superb literary craftsman, writing for a specific group of gifted actors, and in addition a thoughtful political writer for whom there was no distinction between public and private life. For Congreve, consent provided the essential basis in both cases. His plays explore contrasting patterns of consent and coercion in personal and political relationships and show how individual lives and whole societies can be wrecked by appetite and ambition. Ultimately his work is involved in the quest for what makes men and women able to live together in peace, stability and mutual respect. All his major works are analysed in detail. In addition, there is a brief production history of his plays in performance, as well as an account of critical responses to his work."--BOOK JACKET.