|Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom|
9 March 1689 –19 or 20 November 1692
|Monarch||William III and Mary II|
|Preceded by||John Dryden|
|Succeeded by||Nahum Tate|
Weeting or Lynford,Norfolk,England
|Died||19 November 1692 (aged approx. 49–50)|
|Alma mater||Gonville and Caius College,Cambridge|
Thomas Shadwell (c. 1642 –19 November 1692) was an English poet and playwright who was appointed Poet Laureate in 1689.
Shadwell was born at either Bromehill Farm,Weeting-with-Broomhill or Santon House,Lynford,Norfolk,and educated at Bury St Edmunds School,and at Gonville and Caius College,Cambridge,which he entered in 1656. He left the university without a degree,and joined the Middle Temple. At the Whig triumph in 1688,he superseded John Dryden as poet laureate and historiographer royal. He died at Chelsea on 19 November 1692. He was buried in Chelsea Old Church,but his tomb was destroyed by wartime bombing. A memorial to him with a bust by Francis Bird survives in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.
He was married to the actress Anne Shadwell,who appeared in several of his plays. They had four children including the playwright Charles Shadwell and John Shadwell,a physician who attended to both Queen Anne and George I.
In 1668 he produced a prose comedy, The Sullen Lovers ,or the Impertinents,based on Les Fâcheux by Molière,and written in open imitation of Ben Jonson's comedy of humours. His best plays are Epsom Wells (1672),for which Sir Charles Sedley wrote a prologue,and The Squire of Alsatia (1688). Alsatia was the cant name for the Whitefriars area of London,then a kind of sanctuary for persons liable to arrest,and the play represents,in dialogue full of the local argot,the adventures of a young heir who falls into the hands of the sharpers there.
For fourteen years from the production of his first comedy to his memorable encounter with John Dryden,Shadwell produced a play nearly every year. These productions display a hatred of sham,and a rough but honest moral purpose. Although bawdy,they present a vivid picture of contemporary manners.
Shadwell is chiefly remembered as the unfortunate Mac Flecknoe of Dryden's satire,the "last great prophet of tautology",and the literary son and heir of Richard Flecknoe:
"The rest to some faint meaning make pretense,
But Shadwell never deviates into sense."
Dryden had furnished Shadwell with a prologue to his True Widow (1679) and,in spite of momentary differences,the two had been on friendly terms. But when Dryden joined the court party,and produced Absalom and Achitophel and The Medal,Shadwell became the champion of the Protestants,and made a scurrilous attack on Dryden in The Medal of John Bayes:a Satire against Folly and Knavery (1682). Dryden immediately retorted in Mac Flecknoe,or a Satire on the True Blue Protestant Poet,T.S. (1682),in which Shadwell's personalities were returned with interest. A month later he contributed to Nahum Tate's continuation of Absalom and Achitophel satirical portraits of Elkanah Settle as Doeg and of Shadwell as Og. In 1687,Shadwell attempted to answer these attacks in a version of Juvenal's 10th Satire.
However,Dryden's portrait of Shadwell in Absalom and Achitophel cut far deeper,and has withstood the test of time. In this satire,Dryden noted of Settle and Shadwell:
Two fools that crutch their feeble sense on verse;
Who,by my muse,to all succeeding times
Shall live,in spite of their own doggrel rhymes;
Nonetheless,Shadwell,due to the Whig triumph in 1688,superseded his enemy as Poet Laureate and historiographer royal.
His son,Charles Shadwell was also a playwright. A scene from his play,The Stockjobbers was included as an introduction in Caryl Churchill's Serious Money (1987).
Dear pretty youth,unveil your eyes,
|[ citation needed ]|
Love in their little veins inspires
Nymphs and shepherds,come away.
A complete edition of Shadwell's works was published by another son,Sir John Shadwell,in 1720. Thomas Shadwell's other dramatic works are:
John Dryden was an English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who was appointed England's first Poet Laureate in 1668.
"Restoration comedy" is English comedy written and performed in the Restoration period of 1660–1710. Comedy of manners is used as a synonym for this. After public stage performances were banned for 18 years by the Puritan regime, reopening of the theatres in 1660 marked a renaissance of English drama. Sexually explicit language was encouraged by King Charles II (1660–1685) personally and by the rakish style of his court. Historian George Norman Clark argues:
The best-known fact about the Restoration drama is that it is immoral. The dramatists did not criticize the accepted morality about gambling, drink, love, and pleasure generally, or try, like the dramatists of our own time, to work out their own view of character and conduct. What they did was, according to their respective inclinations, to mock at all restraints. Some were gross, others delicately improper.... The dramatists did not merely say anything they liked: they also intended to glory in it and to shock those who did not like it.
Richard Flecknoe was an English dramatist, poet and musician. He is remembered for being made the butt of satires by Andrew Marvell in 1681 and by John Dryden in Mac Flecknoe in 1682.
This article contains information about the literary events and publications of 1688.
This article contains information about the literary events and publications of 1682.
This article contains information about the literary events and publications of 1668.
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Nahum Tate was an Irish poet, hymnist and lyricist, who became Poet Laureate in 1692. Tate is best known for The History of King Lear, his 1681 adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear, and for his libretto for Henry Purcell's opera, Dido and Aeneas.
Absalom and Achitophel is a celebrated satirical poem by John Dryden, written in heroic couplets and first published in 1681. The poem tells the Biblical tale of the rebellion of Absalom against King David; in this context it is an allegory used to represent a story contemporary to Dryden, concerning King Charles II and the Exclusion Crisis (1679–1681). The poem also references the Popish Plot (1678).
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Restoration literature is the English literature written during the historical period commonly referred to as the English Restoration (1660–1689), which corresponds to the last years of Stuart reign in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. In general, the term is used to denote roughly homogenous styles of literature that centre on a celebration of or reaction to the restored court of Charles II. It is a literature that includes extremes, for it encompasses both Paradise Lost and the Earl of Rochester's Sodom, the high-spirited sexual comedy of The Country Wife and the moral wisdom of The Pilgrim's Progress. It saw Locke's Treatises of Government, the founding of the Royal Society, the experiments and holy meditations of Robert Boyle, the hysterical attacks on theatres from Jeremy Collier, and the pioneering of literary criticism from John Dryden and John Dennis. The period witnessed news becoming a commodity, the essay developing into a periodical art form, and the beginnings of textual criticism.
Mac Flecknoe is a verse mock-heroic satire written by John Dryden. It is a direct attack on Thomas Shadwell, another prominent poet of the time. It opens with the lines:
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Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature.
Nationality words link to articles concerning that nation's poetry or literature.
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Anthony Leigh was a celebrated English comic actor.