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 Mary Pix

Mary Pix

Birth
Nettlebed, South Oxfordshire District, Oxfordshire, England
Death 17 May 1709 (aged 42–43)
London, City of London, Greater London, England
Burial City of Westminster, Greater London, England
Plot churchyard, unmarked
Memorial ID 12083656 · View Source
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Author. One of England's earliest professional woman playwrights, she flourished in the late Restoration period. Pix was at her best in her rough-hewn but lively comedies, often dealing with unhappily married wives and showing a remarkable sympathy for the lower classes. She also published a novel, "The Inhumane Cardinal" (1696), and the long narrative poem "Violenta, or the Rewards of Virtue" (1704), adapted from Boccaccio. Mary Griffith was born in Oxfordshire, the daughter of a pastor who died young. At 18 she married merchant George Pix and settled in London. Her first published work, some commendatory verse for the preface of Richard Ames's comedy "Sylvia's Revenge, or, A Satire Against Man" (1688), shows she was already acquainted with the city's theatrical scene, an environment that had become more welcoming towards women authors since the pioneering efforts of Aphra Behn. She debuted at the Dorset Gardens Theatre with the tragedy "Ibrahim" and the farce "The Spanish Wives" (both 1696) before switching to the rival Lincoln's Inn Fields, her career aided by William Congreve and no little controversy. In the anonymous satire "The Female Wits" (1696) Pix was lampooned along with playwrights Delarivier Manley and Catharine Trotter; she appeared as the character Mrs. Wellfed, a "foolish and openhearted" lady quite fond of her food and drink. An uglier episode involved the play "The Imposture Defeated" (1697) by George Powell, a popular actor and hack writer for Drury Lane. Not only was it plagiarized from Pix's yet unperformed "The Deceiver Deceived" - Powell read the manuscript and rushed his version to the stage first - it was given a misogynistic spin. Congreve produced Pix's original with a prologue condemning the theft and Powell's supporters replied with vicious pamphlets. One of them depicted Congreve holding court with Pix and Trotter, "the two she-things, called poetesses, which write for his house". In a strange twist, after Congreve retired from the theatre in 1700, Pix moved on to Drury Lane. There is some dispute about the authorship of her last four plays and after 1707 she published nothing. She was buried at London's St. Clement Danes Churchyard on May 19, 1709. Her friend Susannah Centlivre held a benefit performance of her own comedy "The Busie Body" for the late author's family. Pix's other plays are "The Innocent Mistress" (1697), "Queen Catharine" (1698), "The False Friend" (1699), "The Beau Defeated" (1700), "The Double Distress" (1701), "The Czar of Muscovy" (1701), "The Different Widows" (1703), "The Conquest of Spain" (1705), and "The Adventures in Madrid" (1706).

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Mark McManus
  • Added: 17 Oct 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 12083656
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Mary Pix (1666–17 May 1709), Find A Grave Memorial no. 12083656, citing St Clement Danes Churchyard, City of Westminster, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .