Happy Birthday Sam and Hester, OR, Favourites of Wiggydom
Two wonderful birthdays today. Samuel Foote and Hester Lynch Piozzi. I don’t believe they ever shared a birthday party, but if they had done, it would have been the best birthday party the eighteenth-century could provide. The guest list would have been stellar. And hilarious.
Samuel Foote was the funniest man of the eighteenth-century. Oh, for sure there were people who have written things that read better these days and playwrights who devised entertainments that have held the stage better. But Samuel Foote was the funniest man in person, the one who would set the table in a roar. Samuel Johnson met Foote vaguely hoping to hold his composure but had to admit defeat and fell about with everyone else.
He was the product of the bizarrely inventive time in theatrical history defined by the Licensing Act of 1737 which dictated that only plays pre-censored by the Lord-Chamberlain’s office could be…
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