John Webster

John Webster

Birth
Death 1625 (aged 44–45)
Burial Body lost or destroyed, Specifically: Unknown location in London, England
Memorial ID 10785808 · View Source
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Playwright. Although he wrote only two great tragedies, "The White Devil" (1612) and "The Duchess of Malfi" (1614), he is the Elizabethan dramatist most often compared to William Shakespeare because of the dynamic forcefulness of his language. The almost nihilistic worldview presented in Webster's blood-soaked revenge dramas have led some to accuse him of decadence; George Bernard Shaw once called him "Tussaud Laureate", comparing his work to the Chamber of Horrors in London's famous wax museum. Rupert Brooke, on the other hand, defended Webster, and Dylan Thomas often read from "The Duchess of Malfi" on his lecture tours of the United States. Even today critics are divided over his literary merits, though his two masterpieces remain staples of the classic repertory. Little is known about Webster's life. He was born in London, the son of a prosperous coach-builder, and began writing for the stage in 1602. Apart from the comedy "Guise" (1616, now lost) and "The Devil's Law-Case" (1620), most of his plays were collaborative hackwork, making the achievements of "The White Devil" and "The Duchess of Malfi" all the more astonishing. Nothing is heard from Webster after 1624, and scholars have no clue when he died. He may have been the John Webster buried at St. James, Clerkenwell, on March 3, 1638, but a cryptic 1634 reference to him by playwright Thomas Heywood suggests that he died much earlier than this. Of his mysterious fate historian David Gunby wrote, "Webster's hero-villains die, characteristically, 'in a mist'. The dramatist does the same".

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 14 Apr 2005
  • Find a Grave Memorial 10785808
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John Webster (1580–1625), Find a Grave Memorial no. 10785808, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Body lost or destroyed, who reports a Unknown location in London, England.