The plays are fully annotated for the modern reader and are accompanied by six illustrations. The close relationship between theater and society during the period continues to be the focus of "Contexts." The editor offers contemporary discussions of the following topics: "On Wit, Humour, and Laughter: 1660-1775," "The Collier Controversy: 1698," "Steele and Dennis: On The Man of Mode and The Conscious Lovers," and "Stages, Actors, and Audiences." "Criticism" has been revised to reflect approaches in scholarly interpretations. Two seminal essays from the First Edition have been retained-Charles Lamb's appreciation of the period's comedy and L. C. Knights's condemnation of it. New essays by Jocelyn Powell, Harriet Hawkins, Elin Diamond, Martin Price, and Laura Brown have been added.