Biography of William Congreve

William Congreve was an English playwright and poet in the Restoration Period, which began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, and, in terms of literature, ended around 1710.

William Congreve wrote some of the most popular English plays of the Restoration period, publishing five major plays by the age of 30 - four comedies and one tragedy. However, after his last play, The Way of the World, in 1700, English audiences generally turned away from the comedy of manners style he favored, and Congreve withdrew from theatre and writing, putting out only the occasional poem. 

Congreve never married, and around 1710 he began to experience gout and cataracts. In 1728 he we injured in a carriage accident and never recovered, dying in 1729 at age 58. 

 


Study Guides on Works by William Congreve

The Way of the World premiered in 1700 at London's theatre in Lincoln's Inn Field, performed by Majesty's Servants, an acting company of the time. Though it is now regarded as one of the best Restoration comedies in existence, it was not well...