What were the causes of Restoration drama's licentiousness? How did the elegantly-turned comedy of Congreve become the pointed satire of Fielding? And how did Sheridan and Goldsmith reshape the materials they inherited? In the first account of the entire period for more than a decade, Richard Bevis argues that none of these questions can be answered without an understanding of Augustan and Georgian history. The years between 1660 and 1789 saw considerable political and social upheaval, which is reflected in the eclectic array of dramatic forms that is Georgian theatre's essential characteristic.