Farquhar’s The Twin Rivals and Other Plays
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Farquhar’s career as a dramatist is in stark contrast to that of Vanbrugh. Whilst Vanbrugh aspired to acceptance in a world of aristocratic privilege, seeing the writing of plays as virtually incidental to his other careers, Farquhar’s attitude was straightforwardly economic. He wrote to support himself. Indeed, formulaic though it is, it is not difficult to see his very first play, Love and a Bottle, which was first produced at Drury Lane Theatre at the end of 1698, as embodying aspects of the dilemma he faced at the time. His arrival in England in 1697, after an unsuccessful period as an actor in Dublin, was prompted by the urgings of his friend Robert Wilks, who supposedly told him ‘that he would not meet with encouragement in Ireland, adequate to his merit, and therefore counselled him to go to London’.1 The draft of the play that Farquhar brought with him contains two characters ‘ whose significance can be seen to bear directly on Farquhar’s own situation: Roebuck, ‘an Irish Gentleman, of a wild roving temper, newly come to London’, and a destitute poet, Lyric.
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