“Only Tricks and Transformations Please” : Tracing Beggar’s Opera in the Works of Charles Coffey and Thomas Walker



Year of publication 2020
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description This paper explores the connections between Gay’s Beggar’s Opera and two ballad-operas inspired by Gay’s work. Thomas Walker’s Quaker’s Opera (1728) is often described as a “catchpenny imitation” of the ever-famous ballad opera (Dictionary of National Biography), with Charles Coffey’s Beggar’s Wedding (1729) using the popularity of the newly established genre to gain fame and wealth. This contribution tries to observe the various inspiration, borrowing and adaptations processes in both Walker’s and Coffey’s operas and describe the degree to which these works were balancing on the thin line between adaptation and plagiarism.
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