Selena Couture and Alexander Dick, editors
Cambridge University Press
Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s last play, an adaptation of August von Kotzebue’s Die Spanier in Peru first performed in 1799, was one of the most popular of the entire century. Set during the Spanish Conquest of Peru, Pizarro dramatizes English fears of invasion by Revolutionary France, but it is also surprisingly and critically engaged with Britain’s colonial exploits abroad. Pizarro is a play of firsts: the first use of music alongside action, the first collapsing set, the first production to inspire such celebratory ephemera as cartoons, portraits, postcards, even porcelain collector plates. Pizarro marks the end of eighteenth-century drama and the birth of a new theatrical culture.
This edition features a comprehensive introduction and extensive appendices documenting the play’s first successful performances and global influence. It will appeal to students and scholars of Romantic literature, theatre history, post-colonialism, and Indigenous studies.