David Garrick

David Garrick, 1717–79, English actor, manager, and dramatist. He was indisputably the greatest English actor of the 18th cent., and his friendships with Diderot, Samuel Johnson, Oliver Goldsmith, and other notables who made up "The Club" resulted in detailed records of his life. Garrick made his formal debut in 1742 as Richard III and was an immediate success. He was noted for his versatility, playing the tragic heroes of contemporary drama as well as Shakespearean roles. His King Lear was especially praised. Although he was short in stature and had a mercurial nature, his straightforward diction and unpretentious demeanor swept the declamatory school from the stage. From 1747 until his retirement in 1776, he was the manager of Drury Lane, where he initiated many reforms, including the concealment of stage lighting (1765) from the audience. He also wrote many plays himself, the most successful being the farces Bon Ton (1775) and Miss in Her Teens (1747); he collaborated with George Colman the elder in writing The Clandestine Marriage (1766).

See his diary, ed. by R. C. Alexander (1928, repr. 1971); his letters, ed. by D. M. Little and G. M. Kahrl (3 vol., 1963); biographies by C. M. A. Lenanton (1958), K. A. Burnim (1961, repr. 1973), F. A. Hedgcock (1912, repr. 1969), G. W. Stone, Jr. and G. M. Kahrl (1979), and A. Kendall (1986); studies by E. P. Stein (1938, repr. 1967), F. M. Parsons (2d ed. 1969), and C. Price (1973).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

David Garrick: Selected full-text books and articles

David Garrick By Carola Oman Hodder and Stoughton, 1958
The Plays of David Garrick By David Garrick; Harry William Pedicord; Fredrick Louis Bergmann Southern Illinois University Press, vol.1, 1980
The Theatrical Public in the Time of Garrick By Harry William Pedicord King's Crown Press, 1954
David Garrick, Director By Kalman A. Burnim University of Pittsburgh Press, 1961
Richard's Himself Again: A Stage History of Richard III By Scott Colley Greenwood Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "The Enlightenment Richard: Garrick, Kemble, and Cooke"
Hamlet on Stage: The Great Tradition By John A. Mills Greenwood Press, 1985
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "David Garrick"
The Tragic Actor By Bertram Joseph Routledge and Paul, 1959
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Three "From Quin to Garrick" and Chap. Four "The Age of Garrick"
David Garrick, George III, and the Politics of Revision By Dircks, Phyllis T Philological Quarterly, Vol. 76, No. 3, Summer 1997
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