1642-92; b. Norfolk, ed. Edmund St Burys and Caius, Cambridge [no degree]; he then entered the Middle Temple; his first play, Sullen Lovers (1668), played at Lincolns Inns Fields, was based on Molieres Les Facheux; also wrote dramatic pieces and an opera, Enchanted Island, after Shakespeares Tempest (1673); issued a Timon of Athens (1678), and Squires of Alsatia (1688);
issued Scourers (1691); Shadwell was famously involved in an open feud with John Dryden from 1682, the two repeatedly attacking each other in satires of which Drydens were Medal and MacFlecknoe, and Shadwells The Medal of John Bayes (1682), and a translation of the Tenth Satire of Juvenal (1687); followed Dryden as laureate and historiographer royal at the revolution . ODNB OCEL OCIL
Teague ODivelly, The Irish Priest (1682) [and 2nd Part ?1682];
The Woman Captain (at Smock Alley 1713) [Clark, Appendix C.]
Summers, ed., The Complete Works of Thomas Shadwell (NY: Benjamin
Blom 1968; rep. of 1927 edn.), cclxiv, 313pp; other vols., 2, 403pp.;
3, 415pp.; 4, 441pp.; 5, 462pp.
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G. C. Duggan, The Stage Irishman (1937), Thomas Shadwells two part play, The Lancashire Witches or Teague ODivelly, the Irish Priest (1681), and The Amorous Bigotte, with the second part of Teague ODivelly (1689; printed 1690). Context, in 1678, Sir Edmonsbury Godfrey, the London Justice who had taken the depositions of Titus Oates, was murdered; in the following year, the Crown brought the case that Fr. Gerald and Fr. Kelly, who has escaped to France, were involved, and Shadwell presented the latter under the guise of Teague ODivelly. In the first part, Teague is explicitly identified with Kelly, but his relation to the main plot in which two girls affiancéed to booby squires fortunately marry Yorkshire gentlemen is skimpy. He is engaged in exorcising Sir Edward Hartford, who is under the delusion that he is bewitched. His character is hypocritical, superstitious, and licentious. Warned in an epilogue that he will offend a part of the Nation, Shadwell defends himself, They that are angry must be very beasts/For all religious laugh at foolish priests. In the second part, Teague is in Madrid, confessor to Belliza, an amorous bigotte, whose daugter Elvira and niece Rosania he dupes with his hypocrisy; at the close he performs a marriage service, pronouncing the words without the intention [so that] it is no marrige and all dere posterity will be after being bashtards as all de Schoolmen say. He is a repugnant character.
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Q. auth.: In 1682 Dryden bestowed on Shadwell the nickname MacFlecknoe implying that he was an Irish writer and therefore a stupid writer. Shadwell was not Irish, though he probably spent four months in Ireland in 1664 or 1665. George Saintsbury mentions the story that Shadwells father was, among other posts, granted the office of Recorder of Galway (Thomas Shadwell, ed. George Saintsbury, London, T. Fisher Unwin; NY: Charles Scribners sons [n.d.], p. xiv). Montague Summes quotes Shadwell saying of Dryden that ‘he knows I never saw Ireland till I was three and twenty years old, and was there but four Months (The Complete Works of Thomas Shadwell , ed. by M. Summers 5 vols. (London, Benjamin Blom, 1927; reissued 1968), p.xxvi). But it was dull of Shadwell to take Drydens charge literally in the first place.
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Joseph Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fíor Ghael (1986),
Thomas Shadwell [104-108]; equates witchcraft and popery; towards the
end a messenger arrives from the capital and arrests Tegue ODivelly
for complicity in the Popish Plot.  Drydens Mac Flecknoe (ca.1678)
sardonically hails Shadwell as the successor of boring Richard Flecknoe;
insulted by the patronymic, Shadwell defended himself against the charge
of Irishness, as if the throwaway insult had cut deepest; his defence
contained in the preface to his Tenth Satyr of Juvenal (1687) where
he peevishily protests against Drydens giving me the Irish
name Mack, when he knows I never saw Ireland till I was three and twenty
years old, and was there but four months. His father was Recorder
of the City of Galway. Leerssen believes that the play exorcises subliminal
doubts of Church of England belief and also the taint of Irishness. The
part of Tegue ODivelly, acted by Antony Leigh, was revived in Shadwells
sequel, The amorous bigotte. ; Ftn.98, Leigh appeared in Crownes City politiques as the lawyer Bartolino, who uses a lisp; in Otways The Cheats of Scapin, he imitates Welsh, Lancashire and Irish accents
as well as nautical slang; also as Teg in The Committee ;
And ftn. 99, An echo of ODivelly appears in The Memoirs of Captain
Carleton where a certain Murtough Brennan, a Kilkenny priest in Spain,
attempts to debauch a young woman in a confessional. And bibl., Thomas
Shadwell, Complete Works, ed. Montague Summers, 6 vols. (London:
Fortune Press 1926-27).
Dictionary of National Biography: father was recorder of Galway for Duke of York after Restoration and subsequently attorney-gen. at Tangier under William OBrien, 2nd Earl of Inchiquin. In 1671 Shadwell referred to Dryden as his particular friend and in 1679 Dryden contrib. prologue to his True Widow; but Shadwell had written in opposition to Essa on Dramatic Poesy in pref. to his first play, 1668; Dryden produced his second satire on Shaftesbury The Medall (1682), Shadwell replied with The Medal of John Bayes, a satire against Folly and Knavery, and also Prose Epistle to the Tories, abusing Dryden, and calling him an abandoned rascal, half wit, half fool; also attacked him in The Tory Poets; Drydens revenge came in MacFlecknoe, or Satire on the True Blue Protestant Poet, T. S. (Oct 1682), calling his literary son of Flecknoe, also with reference to his monstrous belly; a month later Dryden attacked again in Nahum Tates second part of Absolom and Achitophel, calling him Og, mass of foul corrupted matter and ridiculing his opium habit; ... It was not until 1687 that Shadwell in a trans. of Juvenals 10th satire ... replied to MacFlecknoe ... in this he rather proved his dulness by taking literally Dryden reference to him as an Irishman. ... Died apparently suddenly of opium; article appeared on him in Peter Motteuxs Gentlemans Journal; funeral oration by Nicholas Brady, printed 1693; left a ring to William Jephson [inter al.]; a collection of his plays in 4 vols. ded. Geo. I, 1720. [For Charles Shadwell and an elder brother John, who issued the collected plays of Thomas in London, 1720, both included under Thomas in this entry, see Charles, supra. Note: His Irish priests and their plays are not cited in the Shorter ODNB nor in OCEL (ed. Drabble).
Samuel Beckett : Beckett echoes Dryden in Proust (1931): if
Habit is the Godess of Dullness, voluntary memory is Shadwell, and of
Irish extraction. [Proust, Calder ed., 1965, p.33].
Hanif Kureshi: Shadwell is a character in Kureshi's The Buddha of Suburbia - cast as an utter bore whose knowledge of theatre is like an alphabetical table: 'like many spectacular bores, his thoughts were catalogued and indexed.' (p.137.)