William Congreve was born in Yorkshire, England in 1670, but grew up in Ireland, where his father served in the Royal Irish Army. Congreve's father was a Cavalier, which allowed the family to provide an education. Congreve attended Kilkenny College (where he met Jonathan Swift), then Trinity College.
While originally pursuing law, Congreve soon found himself drawn to literature, poetry, and theatre, and at 17 years old he published one of his first works, Incognita: or, Love and Duty reconcil'd. After gaining some recognition, Congreve found himself in the literary world, associating with poetic greats such as John Dryden.
Congreve is best known for his satiric comedy of manners plays, such as The Bachelor, Love for Love, and The Way of the World. While he was successful for a short period of time, Congreve ultimately wrote only five plays. Following his comedy of manners plays, Congreve became a member of the Whig Kit-Kat Club, and took a political position in Jamaica.
William Congreve's later life was burdened with health challenges, and he was in a carriage accident in 1728. He never fully recovered, and died in January 1929. He is buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.
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