This chapter traces the history of The Rover in 18th-century performance, a history that one can reconstruct patchily but in some detail from a number of sources, including contemporary playbills, comments and criticisms, a promptbook copy of the text, and two altered editions. The Rover flattered the Restoration court with a nostalgic image of its cavalier past. Much of this appeal remained in the 18th century, and was not overshadowed by the changes in the political situation and social mores that curtailed the stage-lives of some of Aphra Behn's other plays. Nevertheless, the play was also successfully performed at the court of William and Mary, and in later times, its royalism could easily shade into a kind of general patriotism perfectly well suited to the years of Whig ascendancy.
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