Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)
ph_0111201535-Congreve.jpg William Congreve Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Although William Congreve is remembered today as a dramatist, his first publication was a novella, Incognita: Or, Love and Duty Reconcil’d, which appeared in 1692. He also published a translation of Juvenal’s eleventh satire and commendatory verses “To Mr. Dryden on His Translation of Persius” in John Dryden ’s edition of The Satires of Juvenal and Persius (1693), as well as two songs and three odes in Charles Gildon’s Miscellany of Original Poems (1692). Later, Congreve reprinted these odes, together with translations from Homer’s Iliad (c. 750 b.c.e.; English translation, 1616), in Examen Poeticum (1693). His other translations from the classics include Book III of Ovid’s Ars amatoria (c. 2 b.c.e.; Art of Love, 1612) in 1709 and two stories from Ovid in the 1717 edition of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. His original poetry was first collected with his other writings in The Works of Mr. William Congreve (1710) and frequently reprinted throughout the eighteenth century. After 1700, Congreve abandoned serious drama in favor of social and political interests, although he did write a masque and an opera after that date and collaborated with Sir John Vanbrugh and William Walsh on a farce. In response to Jeremy Collier’s attacks on Restoration playwrights, Congreve wrote a short volume of dramatic criticism, Amendments of Mr. Collier’s False and Imperfect Citations (1698). Congreve’s letters have been edited by John C. Hodges and are available in William Congreve: Letters and Documents (1964).