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Chapter 1 - ‘The Truth for Which We Are Fighting’

David Garrick’s The Tempest (1756) and Inclusive Britishness during the Seven Years’ War

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 August 2023

Amy Lidster
Affiliation:
University of Oxford
Sonia Massai
Affiliation:
King's College London
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Summary

This essay establishes a link between Garrick’s operatic adaptation of The Tempest, which opened at Drury Lane on 11 February 1756, and the imminent escalation of the French and Indian War (1754–63) into the Seven Years’ War (1756–63). In this essay, Massai argues that Garrick’s Tempest, generally dismissed as a flop and as an embarrassing misjudgement on his part, takes on greater topical significance and political resonance if reconsidered alongside the ‘Dialogue’ that Garrick wrote to be performed as prologue to the opera. By means of a close analysis of both texts, alongside Dryden and Davenant’s earlier adaptation of The Tempest (1667), Massai shows how Garrick’s opera and ‘Dialogue’ are in fact representative of wartime uses of Shakespeare, which, as this collection shows, often served as an important platform for the fashioning of current attitudes towards military conflict.

Type
Chapter
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Shakespeare at War
A Material History
, pp. 7 - 16
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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