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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pornographer or Philosopher?
The Libertine is an extraordinarily rich and pungent play, you can almost smell the corruption and dissipation of Restoration London. Whilst at times somewhat raunchy in it's depiction of the London brothels, theatres and royal court, the core of the piece is the battle in the soul of John Wilmott, Earl of Rochester. He is a sensitive poet and at the same time an...
Published on 25 April 2003 by Keith Myers

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been better
Item took a while to turn up and wasn't in a brilliant state considering the amount paid for it. Could have probably bought a new one for the same price if not cheaper :-/
Published 13 months ago by AYSE


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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pornographer or Philosopher?, 25 April 2003
This review is from: The Libertine (NHB Modern Plays) (Paperback)
The Libertine is an extraordinarily rich and pungent play, you can almost smell the corruption and dissipation of Restoration London. Whilst at times somewhat raunchy in it's depiction of the London brothels, theatres and royal court, the core of the piece is the battle in the soul of John Wilmott, Earl of Rochester. He is a sensitive poet and at the same time an accomplished pornographer, he is a republican, yet supports the King, he truly loves his wife, and his mistress. His is truly a tortured soul, he suffers from the worst of maladies - an incisive intelligence which makes him unable to believe in anything that cannot be proven. Thus he is an atheist and a true product of his age, but ironically the new age of enlightenment, the advances in science, the arts, philosophy and politics only serve to compound his inner turmoil. His outward brilliance and rip roaring lifestyle conceals a deep melancholy and his irrational and reckless behaviour becomes increasingly dangerous, he seems to be drawn, against his will, yet driven by it, to inevitable self destruction.
The play is a wonderful depiction of the Restoration era, it has wit, vulgarity, romance and tragedy woven into an evocative and engaging tapestry full of colour, texture and contrast.
The characters are vivid, the language rich and pithy and the action gallops apace, drawing us inexorably into the vortex of Rochester's anarchic tilt at the windmills of life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing, 27 Nov 2009
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M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Libertine (NHB Modern Plays) (Paperback)
Stephen Jeffreys' play as most know was eventually used to make the film of the same name. However unlike the film this play doesn't run too long (thankfully) so even if you did not really like the movie you may still enjoy this. This is a good play about the Restoration period and the life of John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester.

Of course as this is a drama and not a documnary a lot of things have been left out, and some poetic licence has been added. Etheredge's play that is mentioned a few times in this, The "Man of Mode" (New Mermaids) although containing the rake Dorimant is not necessarily a portrayal of Rochester, although some people back then and still now believe that it possibly is - there is just no conclusive proof. Rochester and Etherdge were both acquaintances and they both had children with Elizabeth Barry, although there is no evidence that Rochester taught Barry any acting skills.

Not being too long means that you could even read this in one sitting, and it may get you interested in that period of time, or even to learn more about Rochester, especially his poetry.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE LIBERTINE, 24 Jun 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The Libertine (NHB Modern Plays) (Paperback)
I loved this book and could picture Johnny Depp playing John Wilmot the Earl of Rochester as i read it.The film will be out in august.When i picked the book up i could not put it down untill i got to the end.Very good book, thank you.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been better, 28 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Libertine (NHB Modern Plays) (Paperback)
Item took a while to turn up and wasn't in a brilliant state considering the amount paid for it. Could have probably bought a new one for the same price if not cheaper :-/
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The Libertine (NHB Modern Plays)
The Libertine (NHB Modern Plays) by Stephen Jeffreys (Paperback - 15 Dec 1994)
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