HAPPY BIRTHDAY – John Gay, born 30 June 1685
“Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.”
I have never read any of Gay’s plays (I’d rather see plays than read them), but I have seen two performances of his The Beggar’s Opera and they were great fun. If it ever comes on at a theatre near you, do go and see it. It was a hugely famous play in its day, and created a great interest in crime, especially in highwaymen. I refer to it in my book Jane Austen and Crime, and perhaps seeing the play helped spark my interest in Georgian crime.
John Gay was a poet as well as a dramatist. He knew everyone in the literary London of his day – Pope, Swift, Congreve and Arbuthnot. He was a member of the famed Scriblerus Club. A recent novel, The Fatal Tree by Jake Arnott, has John Gay as a character.
I’d be most interested to know what you think of his work? Tell me in the comment area below.
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