Thomas Shadwell: His Life and Comedies

Thomas Shadwell: His Life and Comedies

Thomas Shadwell: His Life and Comedies

Thomas Shadwell: His Life and Comedies

Excerpt

One of the most unlucky figures in the literary history of the seventeenth century is Thomas Shadwell. Poet- laureate to William and Mary, friend of many of the wittiest men of his age, dramatist who could count more successes than failures, he, nevertheless, is remembered as one who "never deviates into sense." Dryden's satirical lines--among the most trenchant ever penned--have given Shadwell an unenviable reputation. But no person who has read with an open mind even the least happy of Shadwell's comic ventures can properly dismiss him as dull.

This monograph, which is an attempt to bring together the facts of Shadwell's life and to review each of his thirteen plays, was in the hands of the publishers before Mr. Montague Summers' valuable edition of Shadwell with its long prefatory essay was published. In two such studies pursued independently, it is inevitable that the writers will happen upon many of the same facts. It is likewise inevitable that each writer will discover material which is unknown to the other. Among the various items which I have presented and which are not found in Mr. Summers' essay may be mentioned the references to Shadwell's children in the registers of St. Bride's, the uncomplimentary portrait of the Whig poet in Scandalum Magnatum, and the use of Hooke Micrographia as the source for a few of the passages in The Virtuoso.

In my quotations from Shadwell's plays I have used the collected edition of 1720; but, whenever the wording differed from that in the first quartos, I have substituted the earlier reading. A list of the places where my quotations from Shadwell differ from the 1720 text is found in a footnote on page 12.

This monograph is a doctoral dissertation, with additions and omissions. In its original form, it was written under the direction of Professor George Pierce Baker, then of Harvard University. I wish to thank the custodians of the British Museum, of the New York and Boston Public Libraries, and of the libraries of Harvard, Yale, and New York Universities for many courtesies. I owe debts of gratitude to the Rev. A. Taylor, for permission to examine the registers of St. Bride's; to the Rev. F. W. G. Sidebotham, rector . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.