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The life of Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, one half of Gilbert & Sullivan The author of The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, HMS Pinafore, W. S. Gilbert—a witty, caustic, and disrespectful man—was one of the celebrities of the late Victorian age, and in this book his glorious, contradictory character is explored and brought vividly to life. In his time he was many things: journalist, theater critic, cartoonist, comic poet, stage director, short story writer, and dramatist. He wrote the most brilliantly inventive plays of his time, a political satire he wrote was banned by the Lord Chamberlain at the personal insistence of the Prince of Wales, and with Arthur Sullivan he wrote comic operas that defined the age. He became richer and more famous than he could have imagined, but at the price of his artistic freedom. This is the story of an angry and quarrelsome man, discontented with himself and the age he lived in, raging at life’s absurdities and laughing at them.

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