Wycherley, William

Wycherley, William

biographical name

(born 1640, Clive, near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, Eng.—died Jan. 1, 1716, London) English dramatist. After attending Oxford and studying law, Wycherley became a man-about-town with an interest in theatre. Within the framework of the comedy of manners, he attempted to reconcile a deep-seated puritanism with his ardent physical nature. Love in a Wood (1671) first won him favour in the Restoration court, and The Plain-Dealer (1676) satirized rapacious greed. In The Country-Wife (1675), perhaps his best work, a satirical comment on excessive jealousy and complacency is blended with a richly comic and bawdy presentation. He eventually lost favour at court and spent seven years in debtor's prison until he was rescued by James II.

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