Cover of: The Duchess of Malfi | John Webster

About the Book

"The Duchess of Malfi" was published in 1623, but the date of writing may have been as early as 1611. It is based on a story in Painter's "Palace of Pleasure," translated from the Italian novelist, Bandello; and it is entirely possible that it has a foundation in fact. In any case, it portrays with a terrible vividness one side of the court life of the Italian Renaissance; and its picture of the fierce quest of pleasure, the recklessness of crime, and the worldliness of the great princes of the Church finds only too ready corroboration in the annals of the time.

Of John Webster's life almost nothing is known. The dates 1580-1625 given for his birth and death are conjectural inferences, about which the best that can be said is that no known facts contradict them.The first notice of Webster so far discovered shows that he was collaborating in the production of plays for the theatrical manager, Henslowe, in 1602, and of such collaboration he seems to have done a considerable amount. Four plays exist which he wrote alone, "The White Devil," "The Duchess of Malfi," "The Devil's Law-Case," and "Appius and Virginia."

Webster's tragedies come toward the close of the great series of tragedies of blood and revenge, in which "The Spanish Tragedy" and "Hamlet" are landmarks, but before decadence can fairly be said to have set in. He, indeed, loads his scene with horrors almost past the point which modern taste can bear; but the intensity of his dramatic situations, and his superb power of flashing in a single line a light into the recesses of the human heart at the crises of supreme emotion, redeems him from mere sensationalism, and places his best things in the first rank of dramatic writing.

Edition Notes

"O, let us howl, some heavy note' ... Commentary and transcription [for voice and keyboard instrument] by David Greer": p. 210-213.

Series
The Revels plays
Other Titles
O, let us howl, some heavy note.

Classifications

Dewey Decimal Class
822.3
Library of Congress
PR3184 .D8 1964

The Physical Object

Pagination
xxii, 220 p. ;
Number of pages
220

ID Numbers

Open Library
OL24205720M
Internet Archive
duchessofmalfi00websrich
OCLC/WorldCat
5685186
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History

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August 12, 2011 Edited by ImportBot add ia_box_id to scanned books
September 2, 2010 Edited by ImportBot Added new cover
August 19, 2010 Edited by WorkBot merge works
July 14, 2010 Edited by EdwardBot remove title_prefix, correct title, add languages, tidy contributions list, improve by statement, add notes
May 5, 2010 Created by ImportBot Imported from Internet Archive item record.