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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VI. The Drama to 1642, Part Two.

IV. Thomas Heywood

§ 2. His special work in Domestic Drama

But, while Heywood, cheerfully suiting himself and his art to a variety of dramatic genres, attained to virtuosity rather than to supreme excellence in the chronicle history and the romantic drama, and did as well as many others in the comedy of manners and the mythological play, he associated his name after a more intimate fashion with a species which had a character, and a future, of its own. This was the domestic drama, which, on the background of ordinary family life, presents an action of deep and commanding moral interest. Heywood was not the inventor of the domestic drama, which is as thoroughly English in its genesis and in a great part of its development as the national historical drama itself, justly held in high honour by him. Nor was it given to him, or to any of his contemporaries, to realise in the Elizabethan age the possibilities of this species with a fulness comparable to that reached by others—the comedy of manners, for instance. But he achieved memorable and enduring results in a field in which few of his fellow dramatists whose names are known to us made more than tentative efforts, and to which the greatest of them abstained from turning his attention except, as it were, in passing. The simplicity of these works cannot be held to detract from the honour due to the art which produced them, or to impair the recognition implied in the fact that, in the history of European literature, the name of Thomas Heywood is linked to those of great writers, to some of whom it was probably unknown—Steele and Richardson, Diderot and Lessing.