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Webster: The White Devil

2. Those Scheming Italians...

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the implications of setting a play in Italy in the Early Modern period – a place thought to be the home of sin, corruption and intrigue.


In this course, we explore John Webster’s ‘The White Devil’, beginning by thinking about John Webster himself, before moving on to consider the play itself – its setting in Italy, and the presentation of the various male and female characters in the play. In the last module, we think about how Webster’s play might best be staged – an issue that Webster himself commented on when he complained (in the preface to the printed version of the play) that the original production had been “presented in so open and black a theatre, that it wanted a full and understanding auditory”


Born in Bristol, and educated at Oxford and St Louis, Dr John Lennard has taught English, American, and Commonwealth Literature in Cambridge, London, and Jamaica over more than twenty years. He has written two widely used textbooks (on poetry and drama) and monographs on Shakespeare, Paul Scott, Nabokov, and Faulkner, as well as two collections of essays on contemporary genre writers in crime, science fiction and fantasy, and romance. Enthusiastic, discursive, widely knowledgeable, and a demon for punctuation (on which he has also published extensively), he has been a popular Summer School Course Leader and lecturer for the Institute of Continuing Education since 1992.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Lennard, J. (2018, August 15). Webster: The White Devil - Those Scheming Italians... [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Lennard, J. "Webster: The White Devil – Those Scheming Italians...." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,