I was recently invited to do a podcast for That Shakespeare Life with Cassidy Cash, discussing Sir William D’Avenant.
I jumped at the chance, went and read up on him in some detail, and found D’Avenant to be an amazingly impressive, interesting, and attractive man. I discovered why it was that he was probably the most famous man in the London of the late seventeenth century and poet laureate for half a century.
Theatre historians are interested in D’Avenant because he was a central figure in the revival of theatre during the Restoration, but he is largely forgotten. Although he wrote scores of plays they are never staged, and he’s a mere footnote in the cultural history of London. That he was also personally popular with everyone, without exception – even those whom one would think would be his enemies – doesn’t make any difference. All interest in him ended with his death.
And yet he was a deserved star, and I feel privileged to have gotten to know him by doing a bit of research, that I would not otherwise have done, and I thoroughly enjoyed chewing over his life and career with Cassidy.