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Burnand, Sir F. C.

Burnand, Sir F. C.

Sir F. C. Burnand

November 29, 1836 - 1917

Sir Francis Cowley Burnand (F. C. Burnand) was born on November 29, 1836 in central London. His father, Francis Burnand, was a stockbroker and his mother, Emma Cowley, was a descendent of Hannah Cowley, a successful poet and dramatist. He was their first and only child, Emma having died eight days after giving birth to him. He was educated at Eton and then Cambridge, originally intending to work toward a career in law. However, during these years he discovered his love of the theater after starting the Cambridge Amateur Dramatic Club which prompted him to write numerous plays, that he later got published, and act in various productions under the stage name Tom Pierce (Stedman).

Burnand went on to become a very popular and prolific Victorian dramatist. Throughout his career, he worked on and produced hundreds of plays, farces, burlesques, pantomimes, comic pieces and illustrations; he also contributed to such periodicals as The Glow-Worm, Fun, and Punch (Stedman). His works were commonly “parodies of melodramas, history, classical myth, and legend” (Booth). Along with his written and illustrated contributions to Punch, he also worked as an editor for the magazine for nearly forty-five years (Stedman). He also translated and adapted several operas by French composers to be performed on the London stage, “including Audran, Lecocq and Planquette” (Wilson). Within his own works, he would often use his knowledge of the French language to help create some of his puns, dances,


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