Swanson, Alan

Dr. Swanson is a Professor Emeritus at University of Groningen. He received his Ph.D. in Scandinavian and Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago.

Annotated Edition of Joshua Barnes’ The Academie, Or, the Cambridge Dunns
2012 0-7734-2571-3
An annotated edition of Joshua Barnes The Academie, or The Cambridge Dunns, with a new essay on the place of Barnes in 17th English Theatre. Swanson examines the bawdy and dark satire of the Cambridge playwright Joshua Barnes whose play savages the university and town. Barnes’ annotated version of this play sheds new light on English satire and Barnes as a “university wit,” while situating the play’s importance by differentiating it from its contemporary rivals in London.

David Garrick and the Development of English Comedy: A Study of Adaptation on the Eighteenth-Century Stage
2013 0-7734-4057-7
David Garrick was an assiduous reader and collector of older English, and to some extent French plays and we can see him looking backwards, searching out and buying extant play collections offered for sale. Some of these plays he remodeled and imitated for his company. Looking forward, beyond him, we can see that his work was in turn admired, read, and subsequently translated and imitated. Garrick the reader became Garrick the read. He forms, therefore, a bridge in the movement and development of comedy in the eighteenth century.

Alan Swanson brings his considerable knowledge of theater and linguistic talent to bear on tracing a genealogy of four adaptations, or imitations of a single play over a span of 120 years. He examines not only how the play has been transformed, but why, and in doing so provides insight into evolving cultural change and public tastes.