Farquhar, George [key], 1678–1707, Irish dramatist, b. Londonderry (now Derry), Ireland. After his short career as an actor ended when he severely wounded a fellow actor in a stage duel, he wrote (1698) his first comedy, Love and a Bottle. His next play, The Constant Couple (1699), established his reputation. His experiences as an army officer are reflected in The Recruiting Officer (1706). He was on his deathbed when he completed his masterpiece, The Beaux' Stratagem (1707), a witty, realistic comedy set in the country. His plays, written in an atmosphere of genial merriment, represent the transition between the licentiousness of Restoration drama and the sentimentality of the 18th cent.
See his complete works (ed. by C. A. Stonehill, 1930); studies by E. Rothstein (1967) and E. James (1972).
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