John Ford

Definition

Theater

  • (1586 - 1639) English playwright, whose works have oftenbeen cited as examples of the 'decadence' of Caroline drama.In the 19th century he was admired by Charles Lamb but attacked byWilliam Hazlitt and others, who accused him of lacking a sense ofmorality. However, many 20th-century critics have praised his insightinto character and his skill in writing dialogue. Ford was capturedin verse by a contemporary, William Hemminge:
    Deep in a dump Jack Ford alone was got
    With folded arms and melancholy hat.

    Ford was born in Devonshire and trained as a lawyer. He wrotepoetry and some pamphlets before turning to the stage at 35, whenhe seems to have collaborated with William Rowley and Thomas Dekker(c. 1570 - 1632) on The Witch of Edmonton (1621).He subsequently worked with Dekker on other plays, such as TheSun's Darling (1624). From 1625 to 1628 he wrote mostly for theprivate theaters, working at a time when drama was in decline.

    His best-known play is the bloody tragedy 'Tis Pity She'sa Whore (1627). Other works include Love's Sacrifice (1627),the tragicomedy The Lover's Melancholy (1628), and PerkinWarbeck (1634), described by T. S. Eliot as "one of thevery best historical plays in the whole of Elizabethan and Jacobeandrama".

    Several of Ford's plays were lost for ever owing to the activitiesof Warburton's cook.

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