Thomas Shadwell, 1642?–1692, English dramatist and poet. His plays, written in the tradition of Jonson's comedy of humours, are distinguished for their realistic pictures of London life and for their frank and witty dialogue. They include The Sullen Lovers (1668), Epsom Wells (1672), and The Squire of Alsatia (1688). His devotion to Jonson instigated his feud with Dryden, whom he succeeded as poet laureate in 1689. Shadwell attacked Dryden in The Medal of John Bayes (1682) and was himself lampooned in Dryden's Absalom and Achitophel and Mac Flecknoe.
See his works (ed. by M. Summers, 5 vol., 1927).
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