John Marston

John Marston, 1576–1634, English satirist and dramatist, b. Oxfordshire, grad. Oxford, 1594. In accordance with his father's wishes he studied law at Middle Temple, but his interests soon turned to literature. His first published works, a licentious, satiric love poem entitled The Metamorphosis of Pigmalion's Image and The Scourge of Villanie, a volume of coarse verse satires, appeared in 1598. After both these works were burned in 1599 by order of the archbishop of Canterbury, Marston began writing for the stage. His most notable plays are the love story Antonio and Mellida (1599); its sequel, the revenge tragedy Antonio's Revenge (1599); his masterpiece, The Malcontent (1604), a tragicomedy that derides aristocratic behavior; and The Dutch Courtezan (1605), a bitterly anti-female comedy. Marston was involved in the war of the theaters against Ben Jonson from 1599 to 1601, while both playwrights were writing for rival companies of child actors. Later, the two men became friends and collaborated with George Chapman in writing Eastward Ho! (1605). Marston ended his literary career c.1607, and two years later he took holy orders.

See his plays ed. by H. H. Wood (3 vol., 1934–39); his poems ed. by A. Davenport (1961); study by P. J. Finckelpearl (1969).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Dutch Courtesan
John Marston; Martin L. Wine.
University of Nebraska (Lincoln campus), 1965
Antonio and Mellida: The First Part
John Marston.
University of Nebraska (Lincoln campus), 1965
Antonio's Revenge: The Second Part of Antonio and Mellida
John Marston.
University of Nebraska (Lincoln campus), 1965
The Poems of John Marston
Arnold Davenport; John Marston.
Liverpool University Press, 1961
Comicall Satyre and Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida
Oscar James Campbell.
Adcraft Press, 1938
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VI "John Marston's Early Satire Plays"
Humor in British Literature, from the Middle Ages to the Restoration: A Reference Guide
Don L. E. Nilsen.
Greenwood Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "John Marston (C. 1576-1634)" begins on p. 156
Jacobean Theatre
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Edward Arnold, 1960
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IV "English Folly and Italian Vice: The Moral Landscape of John Marston"
Prostitution in Elizabethan and Jacobean Comedy
Anne M. Haselkorn.
Whitston, 1983
Librarian’s tip: "John Marston: The Dutch Courtesan" begins on p. 56
An Introduction to Stuart Drama
Frederick S. Boas.
Oxford University Press, 1946
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VI "John Marston - Thomas Dekker: Melodrama and Civic Comedy"
The Rhetoric of the Body from Ovid to Shakespeare
Lynn Enterline.
Cambridge University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "'Be Not Obsceane though Wanton': Marston's Metamorphosis of Pigmalion's Image"
Writing and Revenge: John Marston's Histriomastix
Bednarz, James P.
Comparative Drama, Spring-Summer 2002
Temporizing as Pyrrhonizing in Marston's the Malcontent
Hamlin, William M.
Comparative Drama, Vol. 34, No. 3, Fall 2000
The Jacobean Drama: An Interpretation
U. M. Ellis-Fermor.
Methuen, 1936
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IV "John Marston"
Playing Companies and Commerce in Shakespeare's Time
Roslyn Lander Knutson.
Cambridge University Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Histrio-Mastix and Company Commerce"
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