Readersforum's Blog

November 19, 2013

Rhyme War: Shadwell vs. Dryden

Thomas Shadwell

Thomas Shadwell

by Steve King

On this day in 1692 the British poet and playwright Thomas Shadwell died. Shadwell wrote eighteen plays and became poet laureate but, as the Columbia History of English Literature puts it, “he enjoyed a popularity in his own day which is not easily explicable in ours.” This is utter kindness compared to contemporary John Dryden, who enthroned Shadwell as “The King of Dullness.”

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