Webster, John

Webster, John
(1580?-1625?)
   Dramatist. Though in some respects he came nearest to Shakespeare of any of his contemporaries, almost nothing has come down to us of the life of W. Even the dates of his birth and death are uncertain. He appears to have been the s. of a London tailor, to have been a freeman of the Merchant Taylor's Company, and clerk of the parish of St. Andrews, Holborn. Four plays are known to be his, The White Devil, or the Life and Death of Vittoria Corombona (1612), Appius and Virginia (1654), The Devil's Law Case (1623), and The Duchess of Malfi (1623), and he collaborated with Drayton, Middleton, Heywood, Dekker, etc., in the production of others. He does not appear to have been much regarded in his own day, and it was only in the 19th century that his great powers began to be appreciated and expounded by such critics as Lamb and Hazlitt, and in later days Swinburne. The first says, "To move a horror skilfully, to touch a soul to the quick, to lay upon fear as much as it can bear, to wean and weary a life till it is ready to drop, and then step in with mortal instruments to take its last forfeit, this only a Webster can do." W. revels in the horrible, but the touch of genius saves his work from mere brutality, and evokes pity and sorrow where, without it, there would be only horror and disgust. His work is extremely unequal, and he had no power of construction, but his extraordinary insight into motives and feelings redeem all his failings and give him a place second only to Marlowe and Ben Jonson among the contemporaries of Shakespeare.

Short biographical dictionary of English literature . . 2011.

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  • Webster,John — Webster, John. 1580? 1625?. English playwright whose works include The White Devil (published 1612) and The Duchess of Malfi (c. 1613). * * * …   Universalium

  • WEBSTER, John — (c. 1580 c. 1634) John Webster, a dramatic poet and playwright who flourished during the first twenty years of the seventeenth century, is best known for his melodramatic style emphasizing terror and pity. He was at times a collaborative writer;… …   Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary

  • Webster, John — born с 1580, London, Eng. died с 1632 British playwright. Little is known of his life, but he may have been an actor who began writing plays later in his career. He collaborated with several leading dramatists, including Thomas Dekker. Webster is …   Universalium

  • Webster, John — (ca. 1578 ca. 1625)    English dramatist, best known as the author of two violent and melodramatic revenge tragedies, and the probable author of several others. He was the son of a prosperous London coachmaker and merchant tailor, was ap… …   Historical Dictionary of Renaissance

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  • WEBSTER, JOHN —    English dramatist of the 17th century; did a good deal as a dramatist in collaboration with others, but some four plays are exclusively his own work, the two best the White Devil and the Duchess of Malfi …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Webster (surname) — Webster is a surname, and may refer to:*Alasdair Webster (born 1934), Australian politician *Andy Webster, Scottish football player, currently playing for Bristol City on loan from Rangers F.C *Ben Webster, American jazz musician *Daniel Webster …   Wikipedia

  • Webster — Webster, Daniel Webster, John Webster, Noah * * * (as used in expressions) Webster, Ben(jamin Francis) Webster, Daniel Webster, John Webster, lago Webster, Noah Webster Ashburton, tratado …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • John D. Lodge — John Davis Lodge (* 20. Oktober 1903 in Washington; † 29. Oktober 1985 in New York City) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker und Gouverneur des US Bundesstaates Connecticut. Er war Mitglied der Republikanischen Partei. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John Noel Dempsey — (* 3. Januar 1915 in Cahir, County Tipperary, Irland; † 16. Juli 1989 in Putnam, Connecticut) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker und Gouverneur des US Bundesstaates Connecticut. Er war Mitglied der Demokratischen Partei …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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