8 Annotations

First Reading

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Dryden, John, 1631-1700.
The rival ladies. A tragi-comedy. As it was acted at the Theater-Royal.
London : printed by W[illiam]. W[ilson]. for Henry Heringman, and are to be sold at his shop in the lower-walk in the New-Exchange, 1664.
4to. [12], 68 p.
Wing (CD-ROM, 1996) D2346; Macdonald, H. Dryden, 67a

PL 1604

cgs  •  Link

Dryden ages with Samuel, punted on the Granta in same seasons but did they ever converse?

Nix  •  Link

Feb. 3, 1664 -- Samuel says he knew Dryden during their bright college years:

"In Covent Garden to-night, going to fetch home my wife, I stopped at the great Coffee-house there, where I never was before; where Dryden the poet (I knew at Cambridge), and all the wits of the town, and Harris the player, and Mr. Hoole of our College."

Second Reading

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

“… “The Rival Ladies,” a very innocent and most pretty witty play.”

Well, this gives us one measurable idea of how times and values have changed. The Rival Ladies was John Dryden’s first success, in which two women spent most of the play disguised as men.

According to James Winn, such plays permitted “a more psychological kind of titillation: they allowed the audience to imagine what it would be like to change sex, to play at the kind of game [Barbara Villiers Palmer, Countess of] Castlemaine may have organized at court.” 40

40 James Anderson Winn, “When Beauty Fires the Blood”: Love and the Arts in the Age of Dryden (Ann Arbor, MI, 1992), 65.

Traub suggested that cross-dressing plays may have blinded contemporaries to “the eroticism evident in their language of desire.” Valerie Traub, “The (In)Significance of ‘Lesbian’Desire in Early Modern England,” in Queering the Renaissance, ed. Jonathan Goldberg (Durham, NC,1994), 80.
This reference comes from a paper attempting to unravel the relationships of the Princesses Mary and Anne with courtier Frances Apsley. Were they physically acting out their relationships or was their correspondence just teenage girls' expressions of repression and desire? Frances kept her letters but, unlike her distant cousin Sarah Jennings, did not blackmail the Queens, write her memoires or publish the letters.

Since Pepys found the play innocent and amusing, it must reflect a tollerance reasonably common in its time, which we 21st century people find questionable.

Love, Friendship, and Power: Queen Mary II’s Letters to Frances Apsley
By Molly McClain
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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.


  • Aug