William Wycherley

Wycherley, William: - William Wycherley (1640-1716) was an English playwright of the Restoration era, whose bawdy and satirical plays contain elements of biting social criticism. Despite their harshness, his works enjoyed a great vogue, and Wycherley became a favourite of King Charles II. Congreve was amongst those who saw Wycherley as an essentially moral writer appointed to lash this crying age. As a young man Wycherley studied law but became bored and abandoned it: his first play, Love in a Wood, or, St James's Park, was produced at Drury Lane in 1671. He followed this success with The Gentleman Dancingmaster (1672) and his two great plays The Country Wife (1675), and The Plain Dealer (1676). However, as a result of his somewhat dissolute lifestyle, he spent seven years in debtors' prison until rescued by James II.