ISBN: 9781783191352
Binding: PaperBack

The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith

Arthur Wing Pinero


‘That is what marriage gives – the right to destroy years and years of life.’

Venice, Easter 1895. In the cafes around St Mark’s Square, all the gossip among the English ex-pat community is about two mysterious arrivals in the city. Agnes Ebbsmith is a young widow with a scandalous past. Travelling with her is Lucas Cleeve, an up-and-coming Tory MP who has abandoned his wife in London. Defying convention, Agnes and Lucas are refusing to marry, and living in a ‘compact’ together. But before long their peace is shattered by the arrival of Lucas’s aristocratic family from London.

The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith is a dramatic, entertaining,and utterly enthralling play by one of the greatest Victorian dramatists. This playtext, slightly adapted from the original,was prepared for its first ever revival, presented by Primavera at Jermyn Street Theatre in 2014. The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith was last performed by Mrs Patrick Campbell in the West End in 1895.

With an introduction to the play and its historical context by Dr Sos Eltis.

Additional Information

ISBN13 9781783191352
Binding PaperBack


‘Gripping and provocative, the work tackled the theme of social radicalism and questioned accepted conventions, posing questions that are as searching today as they were then.’ Broadway World

‘Arthur Pinero's use of the “fallen woman” plot is an unusual one, with implications for the 1890s “New Women's” agenda that have continuing relevance today.’ Women & Performance: a Journal of Feminist Theory

‘Shrewd and polished.’ – Michael Billington, Guardian

‘The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith can't have the same impact it had more than a century ago. But it still has something to say about marriage, even in the twenty-first century.’ Four stars – What’s on Stage

‘Written in 1895 and boasting a fiery female protagonist, The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith is as radical as any contemporary feminist play.’ – Stage

 ‘The play has a lot to say … and it says it a lot.’ – Public Reviews