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John Webster


Nationality: london
Profession: dramatist
From: January 1, 1578 To December 31, 1626
Age: 48 Years

About John Webster



Webster's life is obscure and the dates of his birth anddeath are not known. His father, a carriage maker also named John Webster,married a blacksmith's daughter named Elizabeth Coates on 4 November 1577 andit is likely that Webster was born not long after in or near London. The familylived in St. Sepulchre's parish. His life and career overlapped WilliamShakespeare's.

By 1602, Webster was working with teams of playwrights onhistory plays, most of which were never printed. These included a tragedyCaesar's Fall (written with Michael Drayton, Thomas Dekker, Thomas Middletonand Anthony Munday) and a collaboration with Thomas Dekker Christmas Comes butOnce a Year (1602). With Dekker he also wrote Sir Thomas Wyatt, which wasprinted in 1607 and probably first performed in 1602. He worked with ThomasDekker again on two city comedies, Westward Ho in 1604 and Northward Ho in1605. Also in 1604, he adapted John Marston's The Malcontent for staging by theKing's Men.

Despite his ability to write comedy, Webster is best knownfor his two brooding English tragedies based on Italian sources. The WhiteDevil, a retelling of the intrigues involving Vittoria Accoramboni, an Italianwoman assassinated at the age of 28, was a failure when staged at the Red BullTheatre in 1612 (published the same year) being too unusual and intellectualfor its audience. The Duchess of Malfi, first performed by the King's Men about1614 and published nine years later, was more successful. He also wrote a playcalled Guise, based on French history, of which little else is known as no texthas survived Despite his ability to write comedy, Webster is best knownfor his two brooding English tragedies based on Italian sources. The WhiteDevil, a retelling of the intrigues involving Vittoria Accoramboni, an Italianwoman assassinated at the age of 28, was a failure when staged at the Red BullTheatre in 1612 (published the same year) being too unusual and intellectualfor its audience. The Duchess of Malfi, first performed by the King's Men about1614 and published nine years later, was more successful. He also wrote a playcalled Guise, based on French history, of which little else is known as no texthas survived.

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