Murphy, Arthur (1727-1805) London: J. Wright, 1801 First edition David Garrick (1717-1779) studied for a short time under Samuel Johnson before they both went to London. Garrick began his passionate career with the stage as a drama critic and a playwright. He began acting in 1741 and became an instant sensation. In 1747, he went into partnership to buy the theater at Drury Lane, and went on to make the theater a popular success, introducing more authentic costumes and stage settings. Garrick continued his acting to rave reviews. Although he continued to manage the Drury Lane theater, Garrick stopped acting in 1766. Garrick’s biographer, Arthur Murphy, was an Irish attorney, journalist, actor playwright, and biographer. He began work at a merchant’s counting-house on the recommendation of his uncle in 1747. After refusing to go to Jamaica for the merchant, and thereby alienating his uncle, Murphy went to London. In 1754 he began acting, playing the title roles of Richard III and Othello. He wrote more than twenty plays. His first play, The Apprentice, was performed at Drury Lane in 1756. Murphy’s plays were almost all adaptations from the French, and very successful, earning him fame and fortune. His career illustrates the precarious financial and legal situation of dramatic authors in Georgian England. He worked and wrote at a time when the English theater was redefining the playwright’s position within the burgeoning culture of print. Murphy spent his entire life as a playwright and barrister addressing the professional status of the dramatic author. His greatest success in this endeavor came from his play, Hamlet, with Alterations, a parody of David Garrick’s radical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Although the play was not produced or published in Murphy’s lifetime, it changed the conversation about the bond between a dramatic author and the dramatic text as product.
London : J. Wright, 1801
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