A critical edition of Hannah More's “Percy: A Tragedy”
This critical edition of Percy: A Tragedy provides a carefully collated text of the best-known drama written by Hannah More. Despite her large literary output and the fame accorded her during her lifetime, More has not received the attention she deserves from literary historians and critics for her dramatic works. Today, her plays are not easily accessible to students of eighteenth century drama because they have not been printed since the early part of the nineteenth century. Percy, first produced in 1777, constitutes an important text in the history of women's contribution to eighteenth century English drama. More's tragedies, particularly Percy, draw on the tradition established by the ‘she-tragedies’ of the late seventeenth century and the historical dramas of the eighteenth century. Elwina's celebrated monologue in Act II against the horrors of war connects More to the evangelical tradition, which grew exponentially during the nineteenth century.
The critical introduction also considers the sources of Percy . Here I examine the play in relation to thirteenth century French medieval romances, such as Le Roman du Castelain de Couci et de la dame de Fayel, to eighteenth century French drama, such as Gabrielle de Vergy, in an attempt to establish a connection between those texts and the popular revival of historical romance in eighteenth century English drama.
British and Irish literature
0593: British and Irish literature