The London Merchant, or The History of George Barnwell
The London Merchant, or The History of George Barnwell is a tragedy by George Lillo (1691–1739).
Often referred to simply as The London Merchant.
The original text
The play was based on a seventeenth-century ballad about a murder in Shropshire and is an early example of a bourgeois tragedy.
Originally billed as The Merchant, or The True History of George Barnwell, it was first performed at the Drury Lane Theatre, London on June 21st, 1731. It later acquired the better known title of The London Merchant, or The History of George Barnwell.
It was Lillo's most famous play and would become one of the most popular plays of the 18th and early 19th centuries, and is still produced.
Apprenticeship is a central issue in the play, and a number of 19th century books on George Barnwell (by Sarah Scudgell Wilkinson, Robert Cruikshank and Edward Lytton Blanchard for example) appeared in print, all referring to him as an "apprentice" rather than a "merchant", hence perhaps the title under which it was first performed in South Africa.
Translations and adaptations
Performance history in South Africa
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