Reference > Cambridge History > The Age of Dryden > The Restoration Drama > Nicholas Rowe as a Link between the Later Restoration Drama and that of the Augustan Age
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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

VII. The Restoration Drama.

§ 26. Nicholas Rowe as a Link between the Later Restoration Drama and that of the Augustan Age.


Nicholas Rowe holds a unique position as forming a link between the late restoration dramatists and those of the Augustan age. For, though all his plays were produced in the early years of the eighteenth century, his work is thoroughly typical of the drama at the close of the restoration period, and he is more at home with Banks and Southerne than with the writers of the age of Pope.   43
  Born in 1674, in comfortable circumstances, Rowe, in due course, was called to the bar, but soon abandoned law in order to devote himself wholly to literature. His first play, The Ambitious Step-Mother, was produced, in 1700, at Lincoln’s Inn fields by Betterton, and was well received. It is one of the large group of plays in which the scene is laid in conventionally “eastern” surroundings. This was followed by Tamerlane (1702), which, as a drama, is ineffective; it has, however, a certain historic interest, for Louis XIV, the author tells us, was satirised under the name of Bajazet, the villain of the piece, while the high-minded hero, a sort of Admirable Crichton among princes, and much given to improving the occasion, was intended to personify William III. It was revived yearly on 5 November, the anniversary of the landing of William of Orange, until 1815.   44

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  Ravenscroft The Fair Penitent  
 
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