John Gay 1685-1732
English poet, dramatist, and essayist
Despite an uneven, often controversial writing career, Gay was both beloved and admired by some of the greatest minds of his time. He secured his place in literary history with one of the most original dramatic works ever written, The Beggar's Opera, and ended his career by writing some of the least memorable plays of the era. Although Gay's reputation now rests mainly on the success of the Opera, he had long before achieved popular success with his poetry. His own works and collaborations with some of the best-known writers of his age brought him nearly unparalleled acclaim. Had he been more careful financially, he would have made more money than any other poet at that time. Gay, however, experienced many financial, personal, and professional disappointments.