Elizabeth Inchbald

Definition

Theater

  • (1753 - 1821) British playwright, actress, and novelist,who also edited several collections of English tragedies and comedies.Born Elizabeth Simpson, she left home at 18 to become an actress,despite suffering from a speech impediment. She married the actorJoseph Inchbald in 1772 and appeared with him in the provinces untilhis death in 1779.

    She subsequently performed regularly at Covent Garden beforeretiring to write her own plays, mostly sentimental comedies and successfuladaptations from French or German works. A Mogul Tale, or Descentof the Balloon, produced in 1784 at the Haymarket, was followeda year later by her most successful play, I'll Tell You What.Later offerings included Wives as They Were, and Maids asThey Are (1797) and her last comedy, To Marry or Not Marry(1805).

    She also wrote romantic novels. Charles Lamb once referredto Inchbald and Letitia Barbauld as his "two bald authoresses".

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