Delarivier Manley


Delarivier Manley was a popular playwright and writer of romans à clef, whose published satirical attacks on political corruption, among the Whigs in particular, led to her reputation as a somewhat scandalous woman of her time. Because of her novel The New Atlantis she was arrested in October 1709 for ‘libel’ although the case was dismissed.

The only recorded extant manuscript of any writing by Manley is a registered copy of her will (MyD 1), in which she mentions two now lost plays: a tragedy, The Duke of Somerset, and a comedy, The Double Mistress. She stipulates that all her other manuscripts should be destroyed so that ‘none ghost like may walk after my decease nor any friends Letters to me nor Copies of mine to them or in a word nor the least from my papers be published but the said Tra and Com’.

Peter Beal