James Shirley (1596-1666) was one of the most important English dramatists during the Caroline period (1625-1642). He wrote approximately fifty works in total: these include plays, masques and grammars. Born to parents of middling status in the City of London, Shirley attended the Merchant Taylors’ School and later continued his education at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. He moved to St Albans, where he was ordained as a deacon and priest in the Church of England; he also worked as a schoolmaster. According to his earliest biographer, Anthony Wood, Shirley converted to Catholicism and moved back to London to try his fortunes as a playwright. This conversion has not been satisfactorily substantiated by documentary evidence. It is …
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Searle, Alison . "James Shirley". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 August 2010
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