war of the theatres or poetomachia



  • A battle of insults between three ofthe leading Elizabethan dramatists. The opening shot was BenJonson's Every Man out of His Humour (1599), whichpresents bitter portraits of his contemporaries John Marstonand Thomas Dekker. Jonson struck again in 1600 with Cynthia's Revelsand in 1601 with the devastating Poetaster. Marston counterattackedweakly with What You Will (1601) before collaborating withDekker to give an offensive portrait of Jonson as an inflated pedantin Satiromastix (1602). The cause of the quarrel is now obscureand some theater historians believe that the entire exercise may havebeen a publicity stunt for all three writers.