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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

VII. The Restoration Drama

§ 3. The Operatic Element

The same must have been even more true of such a women as Mrs. Barry. Lee, Crowne and a host of others were perfectly capable of writing plays, with a French polish, to suit these new conditions; but they are unreadable to-day. The crowd of lesser restoration dramatists perfectly understood what would be effective on the stage, and for the rest they relied on incredible bombast and threadbare stage devices. It has been seen how, notwithstanding all the changes which had taken place in the literary and social conditions of the times, and in those of the performance of plays, the theatres were reopened in 1660 with favourite old plays; but now, side by side with the surviving traditions, new influences were at work. Among these influences, the operatic element, which owed its first introduction to D’Avenant, became specially powerful in tragedy, and helped to bring about its degradation.