Skull Beneath the Skin: The Achievement of John Webster


Webster was much possessed by death

And saw the skull beneath the skin;

And breastless creatures under ground

Leaned backward with a lipless grin.

These lines from T. S. Eliot's ?Whispers of Immortality” provide Charles R. Forker with the title for the most sub­stantial and detailed examination of John Webster to date; they also identify a ma­jor theme?the love-death nexus in

Re­naissance drama and its special relevance to Webster.

Forker summarizes what is known about Webster's life and analyzes in de­tail not only the major plays but also the lesser ones. He examines The White De­vil, The Duchess of Malfi, and The Devil's Law-Case in context with the minor and collaborative works, tracing themes, stylistic features, and ideas through the entire Webster canon.

One reviewer of the manuscript notes that ?Forker is surely unrivalled as an authority on matters Websterian. His book treats Webster with an unhurried fullness and richness rarely accorded even to Shakespeare.” Another calls the book ?Splendid. Readable and engaging.”


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Skull beneath the skin: the achievement of John Webster

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Very little is known about John Webster, a younger contemporary of Shakespeare. His reputation today rests mainly on two plays: The White Devil and The Dutchess of Malfi, the latter an acknowledged ... Vollständige Rezension lesen


The Early Career
The Final Phase I
The Final Phase II
The LoveDeath Nexus in English Renaissance Tragedy
The White Devil and the Aesthetics of Chaos
The Tragic Indeterminacy of The Duchess of Malfi
The Dark Affirmation of The Devils LawCase
The Posthumous Reputation
Websters Influence on SeventeenthCentury English Drama

Häufige Begriffe und Wortgruppen

Über den Autor (1986)

Charles R. Forker is Professor of Eng­lish at Indiana University.

Bibliografische Informationen