Memoirs of the Life of David Garrick, Esq.: Interspersed with Characters and Anecdotes of His Theatrical Contemporaries

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The most influential actor of his age, David Garrick (1717-79) shaped the London stage for over three decades as theatre manager at Drury Lane. He popularised a more natural style of acting, and did much to make Shakespeare the most revered English playwright. First published in 1780 and reissued here in the second edition of that year, this two-volume biography was written by Thomas Davies (c.1712-85). Samuel Johnson, a friend of the Garrick family, notably provided Davies with anecdotes and information on Garrick's early life. The work does not dwell on gossip or private life; it offers instead an informed portrait of the stage in Garrick's time. Davies had inhabited this world as a much less successful actor himself, before becoming a bookseller. His work is therefore a direct and valuable witness to theatrical London in the eighteenth century. The first volume covers the years 1717-63.