Gay is never straight. Happy 331st Birthday John.
John Gay is 331 years old today. One of the funniest authors of his age, he penned the most successful original theatrical entertainment of the Anglophone eighteenth-century, creating something that has a claim to be regarded as the world’s first hit musical. And he wrote a bunch of other interesting stuff as well.
Like other early eighteenth-century writers, he’s depicted wearing a turban rather than the full-bottomed wig that made people look like Brian May.
The turban denotes a kind a domestic intimacy, a disengagement from public life, a life unbuttoned and focused on more rarefied pursuits.
The upwardly urgent son of a silk mercer, John Gay was anxious to belong to an elite of some kind and nervous about his status. Gay was also, of course, a Scriblerian. The Scriblerian Club of self important Augustan authors were like the Travelling Wilburies of the early eighteenth-century – so oddly less…
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