Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > Theater History & Dramatic Arts > 239. Richard Brinsley Sheridan

239a.  Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816).  School for Scandal. Manuscript, 97 pages, late 18th or early 19th century. RBML

239b.  Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Miniature portrait. RBML, Plimpton Miniatures

Late in the eighteenth century, Sheridan told a publisher who asked for a corrected copy of School for Scandal, that after nineteen years he was still not satisfied with the text. Whether he ever completed a definitive text is not known, but he may have continued to work on the play as late as 1815. This late version, although not complete, shows some significant changes from an earlier one that has long been accepted as the basic text. The manuscript is in five hands: one appears to be either that of John Palmer (1742?-1798), the original performer of Joseph Surface, the hypocritical brother in this popular comedy, or, according to some scholars, that of George Steevens (1736-1800), the commentator on Shakespeare and collaborator with Samuel Johnson.

(Manuscript) Brander Matthews Dramatic Museum & Library Collection; (Portrait) Gift of Mrs. Francis Plimpton, 1987

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