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: Thriving during a period of profound revolution in Europe, the British Romantic theatre found itself re-examining social and sexual relations in English society. The five plays collected in this edition--the only one of its kind--represent some of the most radical and unusual examples of the drama created during this period. Horace invented gothic melodrama with his incest tragedy, The Mysterious Mother
; Robert Southey imagined the theatre as a site of revolutionary protest in Wat Tyler
(1794); Joanna Baillie's psychological case study in aristocratic hatred in De Monfort
(1768) was thought too alarming to have been written by a woman, while Elizabeth Inchbald's hugely successful Lover's Vows
(1798) was sufficiently subversive for Jane Austen to analyze some of its illicit potential in Mansfield Park
(1814); Byron's strenuous tragedy The Two Foscari
(1821) explores an inescapable conflict between parental love and political authority. The stage imagined by these writers is an arena of culturally charged issues--political, sexual, and socia--paralleling the ones being debated and decided in society at large.