William Cavendish: Amateur Professional Playwright

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


This chapter focusses on William Cavendish and dramatic writing, a field in which he participated both as patron and as author. Cavendish is perhaps best known as a patron of Restoration professional commercial drama, and secondarily for the family drama associated with his circle, performed outside London, generally by amateurs, and with the involvement of family members including Jane Cavendish and Elizabeth Brackley. And yet, before the Civil War, Cavendish had already built for himself an extraordinary position within English commercial drama. During the period up to 1642 he acted as patron, one way or another, to almost all the leading Caroline professional playwrights, as well as himself being involved in the writing of at least three comedies, two of which clearly achieved a measure of commercial success. This chapter asks: what was Cavendish attempting to do in this continuing early engagement with professional drama? And how did it connect with his wider political and cultural aspirations?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to the Cavendishes: Writing, Patronage, and Material Culture
EditorsLisa Hopkins, Tom Rutter
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


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