Frances Burney, Edwy and Elgiva (ed. Peter Sabor, McGill University)
Performed only once at Drury Lane with Sarah Siddons in the cast, Burney’s play deals with romantic love, political leadership, and religion. Set in the tenth century, the play presents the conflicts faced by King Edwy and the kinswoman he marries against ecclesiastical law and the opposition of the monks of England and their abbot Dunstan. With elements of historical tragedy and gothic spectacle, the play provides a sample of Burney’s distinctive dramatic writing and a glimpse into the challenges of writing for the legitimate theatres at the end of the eighteenth century.