Colley Cibber was one of the most derided men in eighteenth-century London. Mocked for his work in the theatre and as Poet Laureate, he was nevertheless a prolific actor and playwright, and co-managed the Theatre Royal Drury Lane for 24 years. His response to his critics, An Apology for the Life of Mr Colley Cibber, is often described as the first theatrical autobiography, and even as the first secular autobiography in English. But what kind of text is it – intimate confession or cunning pose? History of the stage or political polemic? Rambling or purposeful? Or perhaps, even, the first celebrity memoir? Including comprehensive notes and a detailed scholarly introduction, this modernised text makes Cibber's enigmatic literary landmark accessible to a wide readership for the first time and allows both specialists and general readers to explore Cibber's extraordinary career against the rich, turbulent background of London theatre in the eighteenth century.
Peter Holland - University of Notre Dame
Robert D. Hume - The Pennsylvania State University
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