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  • Edited with Introduction and Notes by David Roberts, Birmingham City University

Book description

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.


‘Reading Colley Cibber's Apology is always delightful, for, as well as being the first in the genre, it is one of the most enjoyable theatrical autobiographies ever written. But it is an especial delight to read it in the wise and genial company of David Roberts, the ideal guide to Cibber and the theatres he wrote for and acted in.'

Peter Holland - University of Notre Dame

‘The Roberts edition of Cibber’s Apology represents a major advance on those by Lowe, Fone, and Evans and will be hugely helpful to both specialists and more casual readers. It will immediately become the edition we expect to find cited in all scholarly books and articles.’

Robert D. Hume - The Pennsylvania State University

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  • An Apology for the Life of Mr Colley cibber, Comedian and Late Patentee of the Theatre Royal
    pp 1-370


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