John Gay

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Related to John Gay: Alexander Pope, The Beggar's Opera

Gay, John,

1685–1732, English playwright and poet, b. Barnstaple, Devon. Educated at the local grammar school, he was apprenticed to a silk mercer for a brief time before commencing his literary career in London. The first of his writings to have any real merit were the mock pastoral, The Shepherd's Week (1714), and Trivia (1716), an amusing description of London life. He is remembered chiefly today for his ballad opera, The Beggar's Opera (1728), a lighthearted story of highwaymen and thieves, which satirizes both the corruption of contemporary genteel society and the then current fashion for Italian opera. Its sequel, Polly, written the following year, was suppressed by Sir Robert Walpole since it (like The Beggar's Opera) ridiculed his government. Gay was also the author of two books of verse called Fables (1727, 1738), which were very popular in his generation.


See his poetical works edited by G. C. Faber (1926, repr. 1969); study by P. A. Spacks (1965).

Gay, John


Born Sept. 1685, in Barnstaple; died Apr. 12, 1732, in London. English poet and playwright.

Gay’s Fables (two volumes, 1727-38) were successful. He also wrote the plays What D’Ye Call It (1715) and Three Hours After Marriage (1717, in collaboration with A. Pope and J. Arbuthnot) and the tragedy The Captives (1724). Gay’s fame is based on his comedy The Beggar’s Opera (1728) and its sequel Polly (1729). With these plays Gay created the genre of the so-called ballad opera, in which he combined parody with political and social satire. In the 20th century B. Brecht drew upon Gay’s work in The Threepenny Opera (1928).


The Poetical Works. London, 1926.


Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 1, issue 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1945.
Istoriia zapadno-evropeiskogo teatra, vol. 2. Moscow, 1957.
Armens, Sven M. John Gay, Social Critic. New York, 1954.
Spacks, P. M. John Gay. New York, 1965.


References in periodicals archive ?
Dianne Dugaw, Deep Play: John Gay and the Invention of Modernity (Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press, 2001), pp.
You have nine million people here illegally who are contributing to the United States of America and a few hundred here illegally who want to destroy it," says John Gay.
25; Patricia Meyer Spacks, John Gay (New York: Twayne, 1965), 29.
20) The facts are these: Sometime as a teenager, the orphaned John Gay went from his hometown of Barnstaple to London, apprenticed to one Willet, a silk mercer in the Strand.
In fact, John Gay did not have many opportunities to learn the difficult art of writing fables from the English authors, although he may have read Dryden's Fables Ancient and Modern and his verse translations of Homer, Ovid and Boccaccio.
As a patron, Bolingbroke formed literary friendships with Swift, John Gay, John Arbuthnot, and Pope.
Strictly Commercial prides itself on real estate consultancy, which is not the typical transaction-oriented brokerage mentality," said John Gay, principal and co-founder, Strictly Commercial.
In 1703, Sir John Gay revolutionised rum production, having refined the process with his friend, the ironically named John Sober.
Mr John Gay, former director and chairman of Gunns Limited, has been ordered to pay a $500,000 pecuniary penalty under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) relating to his conviction for insider trading.
CHPA also recently appointed former Natural Products Association president and CEO John Gay as vice president of government affairs.
John Gay, executive director and CEO of NPA said the bill would be an important step in promoting preventative health and wellness, and reducing overall healthcare costs/'Current law allows these dollars to be spent on prescription drugs but not supplements.
But that did nothing to halt the Hull KR momentum, as Johnson, and then John Gay, crossed to end a convincing away performance for Rovers and provide food for thought for the Giants.