Nicholas Rowe was the first Poet Laureate of the Georgian era. A fascinating and important yet largely overlooked figure in eighteenth-century literature, he is the ‘lost Augustan’. His plays are important both for the way they address the political and social concerns of the day and for reflecting a period in which the theatre was in crisis. This edition sets out to demonstrate Rowe’s mastery of the early eighteenth century theatre, especially his providing significant roles for women, and examines the political and historical stances of his plays. It also highlights his work as a translator, which was both innovative and deeply in tune with current practices as exemplified by John Dryden and Alexander Pope. This is the first scholarly edition of all Rowe’s plays and poems and is accompanied by 15 musical scores and 31 black and white illustrations.
The first three volumes arrange his plays chronologically with the first volume presenting the early plays, The Ambitious Step-Mother, Tamerlane, and The Fair Penitent; the second volume the middle plays, The Biter, Ulysses, and The Royal Convert; and the third volume his late period plays, The Tragedy of Jane Shore and The Tragedy of the Lady Jane Grey. The subsequent volumes cover his translation of Lucan’s Pharsalia, described by Samuel Johnson as one of the greatest productions in English poetry, and his own original poetry — which was often composed for specific occasions. Each volume contains a newly written explanatory introduction which precedes the full edited text. Appendices covering dedications, prologues and epilogues, performance history, the related music and textual apparatus are also included. The edition comes with a consolidated bibliography for ease of reference.