The Busybody

Susanna Centlivre

Renard Press



ISBN: 9781913724672


Publication date: 21 February 2022



The Busybody is the most popular comedy by the eighteenth-century playwright Susanna Centlivre. The play centres on two couples trying to form a relationship against the wills of their guardians, and in a battle of wits, playing with many conventions from theatre traditions across the continent, a conclusion is eventually reached.

Like her predecessor Aphra Behn, Centlivre was immensely successful in her day, drawing huge crowds to extended runs of her numerous plays, but the stabbing male pens of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries decried her work as being louche and dangerous, and her name slowly sunk into obscurity.

This edition, published with William Hazlitt’s prefatory note and extra material on Centlivre’s life and writing, seeks to highlight the dexterity with which she took on the stage.