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|The theatre and more
Written by LaurieC
(5/13/2005 9:50 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Time to save theatre (Ch. 18), penned by Elena
In my foreward, which I'm now just reading, it gives this note:
In "An Essay on the Theatre; or, A comparison between Laughing and Sentimental Comedy", written a dozen years later than his novel, Goldsmith raises the question, "Whether in describing Low or Middle Life, an exhibition of its Follies [in laughing comedy] be not preferable to a detail of its Calamities [in sentimental comedy]?" This distinction is useful to Goldsmith in his essay for denigrating sentimental comedy, but it is important for understanding The Vicar of Wakefield only for calling attention to the fact that there is no necessary conflict between exhibiting calamities and follies. (end of quote)
I happened to notice that chapter 24 is entitled "Fresh calamities" and opens with a melancholy air "When lovely woman stoops to folly..." I think there is quite a mix of both calamities and follies in this short novel, and can understand how it could be the source of much discussion and debate since it touches on so many universal human topics and situations. When I am done with the novel, I think I will remember the lively jumble of the plot above all, but it was probably a treasure trove of conversation starters for the contemporary readers.
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