By the turn of the century Henry Arthur Jones was among the most prominent British dramatists. A contemporary of Pinero, Wilde and Shaw, he did his best to elevate drama to the level of literature whilst constructing plays that were also successful in the commercial theatre. Though some of his contemporaries considered Jones cynical and daring, he strove to confront major issues without offending accepted social and dramatic conventions.This volume contains three of Jones's ninety-odd plays, representing the best of his work in different styles: melodrama and society drama. The Silver King (1882), the story of Wilfred Denver, falsely accused of murder, was Jones's first great success. It is one of the best melodramas ever written, and won high praise from Matthew Arnold, among others, for its literary merit and convincing characterisation. (An appendix describes the evolution of the present text). Jones's interest in the 'New Women' of the 1890s is expressed in the lively dialogue of The Case of Rebellious Susan (1894), whose heroine is advised to renounce her new lover and return to her faithless husband - scarcely a radical conclusion, but sympathetically handled. The Liars (1897) is a fine comedy of manners which again considers the question of marriage and the role of women in society.Dr Jackson's full introduction places Jones in the context of late Victorian society and theatre and describes his other literary activities -- the published letters and essays on drama -- as well as discussing some of the plays not included here. The volume is illustrated by contemporary production prints.
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