Edward Ravenscroft

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Edward Ravenscroft (c.1654–1707), English dramatist, belonged to an ancient Flintshire family.

He was entered at the Middle Temple, but devoted his attention mainly to literature. Among his pieces are,

He wrote a total of twelve plays, in which he adapted freely from Molière, William Shakespeare and others. He ventured to decry the heroic drama, and John Dryden retaliated by satirizing his Mamamouchi, a foolish adaptation from Molière's Bourgeois Gentilhomme and Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, in the prologue to the Assignation (Dryden, Works, ed. Scott, iv. 345 seq.)

Ravenscroft was the first critic to posit that Shakespeare's play Titus Andronicus was not originally written by him. In 1686 he revived the play at the Drury Lane Theatre, which he entitled 'Titus Andronicus, or the rape of Lavinia',[1] he wrote in the address 'to the Reader', "I have been told by some anciently conversant with the Stage, that it was not Originally his (Shakespeare's), but brought by a private Author to be Acted and he only gave some Master-touches to one or two of the Principal Parts or Characters; this I am apt to believe, because 'tis the most incorrect and indigested piece in all his Works, It seems rather a heap of Rubbish then a Structure." This position is now known as the "Ravenscroft tradition" within literary circles.[2][3]

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