George Lillo

George Lillo (February 4 1693 - September 4 1739) was a British playwright and tragedian. Very little is known of his biography, except that he was a jeweler in London as well as a dramatist. His family may have come from Flanders originally.

His most famous play was "The London Merchant, or The History of George Barnwell" (1731). It is notable for being what might now be called melodrama and for setting Augustan drama into a more melodramatic course. Lillo wished to create a new genre of play, the "domestic tragedy" (or bourgeois tragedy). Instead of dealing with heroes from Classical or Biblical history, he would deal instead with everyday people and present tragedies conducted on the scale of households, rather than kingdoms. Even though the Jacobean stage had flirted with merchant and artisan plays in the past (with, for example, Thomas Dekker and Thomas Heywood), this was a significant change in theater, and in tragedy in particular. In "The London Merchant," the subject is an apprentice who must struggle with his conscience. He makes an imprudent choice and repents of his vice to attain only the hand of a worthy girl. Lillo's domestic tragedy reflects, in a sense, a turning of the theater away from the court and toward the town. His plays concerned crises faced by the theater-going middle classes, rather than those that would concern kings and nobles only.

Lillo was also concerned that plays be morally correct and in keeping with Christian values. His next play was "The Christian Hero" (1735). It was followed by "Fatal Curiosity" (1736) and "Elmerick, or Justice Triumphant" (1740). Lillo also composed a ballad opera, "Sylvia, or The Country Burial" (1730), and adaptations of Shakespeare's "Pericles" (1738, retitled "Marina") and the anonymous Elizabethan play "Arden of Feversham" (posthumously performed in 1759). Lillo's plays are prescient, in that melodrama and domestic tragedy would dominate English theater in the 19th century. His middle class tragedies lacked spectacle and the special effects popular with the public, even though their subject matter was closer to the public's own lives. In his own day, his later plays in particular were only moderate successes, and old style tragedies and comedies took back the stage.


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  • George Lillo — (1693 1739) fue un dramaturgo británico. Se sabe poco de su biografía, excepto que era un joyero en Londres además de dramaturgo. Puede que su familia fuera de origen flamenco. Su obra más famosa fue The London Merchant (El mercader londinense),… …   Wikipedia Español

  • LILLO (G.) — LILLO GEORGE (1693 1739) Dramaturge londonien, George Lillo est aussi un pionnier. Après avoir fait jouer en 1730 un opéra comique, Silvia, or the Country Burial , il fait représenter l’année suivante, par le Drury Lane Theater de Londres, sa… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Lillo —   [ lɪləʊ], George, englischer Dramatiker, * London 4. 2. 1693, ✝ ebenda 3. 9. 1739; schrieb mit »The London merchant« (1731; deutsch »Der Kaufmann von London«) das erste Trauerspiel, dessen Held ein Bürgerlicher (der Lehrling George Barnwell)… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Lillo [2] — Lillo, George, geb. 1693 in London, Juwelier, st. 1739; er dichtete die Trauerspiele: George Barnwell, All for love, Arden of Feversham; Silvia, Marius, Elmerik; Werke: Lond. 1775 (deutsch Lpz. 1784) …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • George Wiley — George Elsworth Wiley (* 1. Mai 1885 in Syracuse (New York); † 3. März 1954 in New York City) war ein US amerikanischer Radrennfahrer. George Wiley wurde mit 14 Jahren Telegrafenbote für die Western Union Telegraphen Company und benutzte für… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Lillo — Lillo, William, engl. Dramatiker, geb. 1693 in London, gest. daselbst 1739, war Juwelier und schrieb in seinen Mußestunden für die Bühne. Er verfaßte sieben Dramen, darunter »George Barnwell or the merchant of London« (1731), die moralisierende… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Lillo, George — ▪ English dramatist born Feb. 4, 1693, London, Eng. died Sept. 3, 1739, London       English dramatist of pioneer importance in whose domestic tragedy The London Merchant: or, the History of George Barnwell (1731) members of the middle class… …   Universalium

  • LILLO, GEORGE —    English dramatist, born in London, by trade a jeweller; wrote seven comedies, of which The Fatal Curiosity and George Barnwell are the best and the best appreciated (1693 1739) …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Lillo, George — (1693 1739)    Dramatist, of Dutch descent, was b. in London, succeeded his f. in business as a jeweller, in which he had good speed, and devoted his leisure to the composition of plays in the line of what was known as the domestic drama. He… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Lillo — biographical name George 1693 1739 English dramatist …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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