In Restoration Stage Comedies and Hollywood Remarriage Films, Elizabeth Kraft brings the canon of Restoration comedy into the conversation initiated by Stanley Cavell in his book Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage. Before there could be imagined remarriages of the sort Cavell documents, there had to be imagined marriages of equality. Such imagined marriages were first mapped out on the Restoration stage by witty pairs such as Harriet and Dorimant, Millamant and Mirabell, and Alithea and Harcourt who are precursors of the central couples in films such as Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, and The Lady Eve. In considering the Restoration comedy canon in one-on-one discourse with the Hollywood remarriage comedy canon, Kraft demonstrates the indebtedness of the twentieth-century films to the Restoration dramatic texts-and the philosophical richness of both canons as they explore the nature and significance of marriage as pursuit of moral perfectionism. Her book will be of interest to specialists in Restoration drama and film scholars.
Table of Contents
Prologue: The Reason and the Rhyme
1. Something from Nothing: Marriage, Conversation, and the Tragicomic Plot
2. The Thin Man of Mode
3. Whippoorwills, Gypsies, and Fantasies of the Night: Aphra Behn’s The Rover and Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night
4. Luck, Be a Lady: Aphra Behn, Preston Sturges, and the Ethics of Genre
5. Playing and Not Playing: William Wycherley’s The Country Wife and Howard Hawks’s Bringing Up Baby
6. Forgotten Men: William Wycherley’s The Plain Dealer and Gregory La
Cava’s My Man Godfrey
7. Provisos and Reprieves: William Congreve’s The Way of the World and Howard Hawks’s His Girl Friday
8. Happily Ever After? The Awful Truth about Careless Husbands
Epilogue: Hope Springs Eternal
Elizabeth Kraft is Professor of English at the University of Georgia, USA.