George Colman the Elder Criticism - Essay

Joseph M. Jr. Beatty (essay date 1921)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Beatty, Joseph M., Jr. “Garrick, Colman, and The Clandestine Marriage.Modern Language Notes 36, no. 3 (1921): 129-41.

[In the following essay, Beatty attempts to determine which sections of The Clandestine Marriage were written by Colman and which sections should be attributed to David Garrick.]

With the exception of the plays of Goldsmith and Sheridan, The Clandestine Marriage was probably the best English comedy of the second half of the eighteenth century. Its authors were George Colman, the elder, and David Garrick, respectively one of the most widely known dramatists of his generation and one of the greatest actors that England...

(The entire section is 5251 words.)

George Winchester Stone, Jr. (essay date June 1939)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Stone, George Winchester, Jr. “A Midsummer Night's Dream in the Hands of Garrick and Colman.” PMLA 54, no. 5 (June 1939): 467-82.

[In the following excerpt, Stone claims that Colman was responsible for many of the alterations in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream that caused the play he produced with David Garrick in 1763 to fail with audiences and critics.]

By 1755 English dramatic audiences as well as English dramatic critics were less concerned with faults in the construction of Shakespeare's plays then they had been twenty years earlier. Largely because of Garrick's excellent acting, the focal point of Shakespearian criticism was...

(The entire section is 4602 words.)

Arthur John Harris (essay date 1971)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Harris, Arthur John. “Garrick, Colman, and King Lear: A Reconsideration.” Shakespeare Quarterly 22 (1971): 57-66.

[In the following essay, Harris argues that it was Colman, not David Garrick as has most often been assumed, who was primarily responsible for the restoration of Shakespeare's King Lear in the mid-eighteenth century.]

The belief has prevailed since the early nineteenth century that David Garrick is chiefly responsible for the initial steps in the restoration of Shakespeare's King Lear to the stage. The accepted opinion has been that, while Garrick began his career with the Nahum Tate version of Shakespeare's tragedy, he was...

(The entire section is 5318 words.)

Richard Bevis (essay date 1980)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Bevis, Richard. “George Colman (1732-1794).” In The Laughing Tradition: Stage Comedy in Garrick's Day, pp. 174-88. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1980.

[In the following excerpt, Bevis reviews Colman's comedic plays, concluding that while their literary merit is uneven, they are among the few dramas of the period to discuss important social questions.]

George Colman the Elder, youngest of the professional group, produced a body of comic work more substantial than Macklin's or Garrick's and more heterogeneous than Foote's, though he backed into the theater. Until 1764 Colman expected to be a leisured gentleman, but the early death of his uncle and...

(The entire section is 6043 words.)

J. Terry Frazier (essay date 1980)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Frazier, J. Terry. Introduction to New Brooms! (1776) and The Manager in Distress (1780): Two Preludes by George Colman the Elder, pp. v-xvii. Delmar, N.Y.: Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1980.

[In the following essay, Frazier argues that New Brooms! (written to assure London audiences that the English theater would survive David Garrick's retirement) and The Manager in Distress represent the highest qualities of the prelude.]

In 1776 David Garrick, retiring from a legendary career on the English stage, devised management of the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane to Richard Brinsley Sheridan and his co-managers. For the English stage this was...

(The entire section is 4347 words.)

E. R. Wood (essay date 1982)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Wood, E. R. Introduction to Plays by David Garrick and George Colman the Elder: The Lying Valet, The Jealous Wife, The Clandestine Marriage, The Irish Widow, Bon Ton, edited by E. R. Wood, pp. 8-28. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1982.

[In the following excerpt, Wood provides background information on Colman's theatrical career and his association with David Garrick.]


Colman's association with Drury Lane began as a member of Garrick's circle of friends and admirers, and it was as an amateur, earning his real living as a barrister, that he began writing plays. When Garrick set out in September...

(The entire section is 3238 words.)