60 Pages

[William Oldys], Thomas Betterton and [Edmund Curll], The History of the English Stage

Although omas Betterton’s name appears on the title page as the author, e History of the English Stage was most likely authored by Edmund Curll with some contributions from William Oldys. Curll occasionally refers to Betterton (who died in 1710) in the third person (e.g., ‘for, as Mr. Betterton most judiciously remarks…’, see p. 109, below) and occasionally ‘impersonates’ him, speaking from the rst-person perspective. He does this, for example, when he refers to various ‘Restauration’ actors and actresses in the present tense and with easy familiarity, noting, ‘I must say this in the praise of Major Mohun [Michael Mohun, c. 1616-84] he is generally perfect, and gives the Prompter little trouble, and never wrongs the Poet by putting in any thing of his own’ (see pp. 105-6, below), or ‘How o en have I heard Mrs. Barry [Elizabeth Barry, 1656-1713] say, that she never spoke these Words in the Orphan, – Ah! poor Castalio! – without weeping. Nay, I have frequently observed her to change her Countenance several times as the Discourse of others on the Stage have a ected her in the Part she acted’ (see p. 107, below).