The Contrast, written in 1787 by Royall Tyler, is an American play in the tradition of the English Restoration comedies of the seventeenth century; it takes its cue from Sheridan's The School for Scandal, a British comedy of manners that had revived that tradition a decade before. Royall uses the form to satirize Americans who follow British fashions and indulge in 'British vices'. Thus, the play is often concerned with portraying the contrast between Europe and America. The Contrast marks the first comedy written by an American citizen that was professionally produced. The play is most remembered for its prologue: an evaluation of home-made versus foreign goods and ideas and offers the play's most prominent part, along with the introduction of the Yankee character (Jonathan).
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Royall Tyler (June 18, 1757 – August 26, 1826), American jurist and playwright who wrote The Contrast in 1787 and published The Algerine Captive in 1797. He wrote several legal tracts, six plays, a musical drama, two long poems, a semifictional travel narrative, The Yankey in London (1809), and essays. He frequently collaborated with his friend Joseph Dennie, including co-writing a satirical column which appeared in Dennie's newspaper The Farmer's Weekly Museum.
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