Isaac Bickerstaffe - Encyclopedia


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ISAAC BICKERSTAFFE (c. 1 735 - c. 1812), English dramatist, was born in Ireland about 1735. At the age of eleven he was appointed a page to Lord Chesterfield, then lord lieutenant of Ireland, and subsequently held a commission in the Marines, but was dismissed the service under discreditable circumstances. He was the author of a large number of plays and burlesque farces interspersed with songs, produced between 1760 and 1771. The best-known are Maid of the Mill (founded on Richardson's Pamela), The Padlock, He Would if he Could, Love in a Village, The Hypocrite and The Captive. In 1772 Bickerstaffe, suspected of a capital offence, fled to the continent. The exact date of his death is unknown, but he is stated to have been still living in abject misery in 1812.

A full account of his dramatic productions is given in Biographia Dramatica, edited by Stephen Jones (1812).

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