George Lillo

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lillo, George


Born Feb. 4, 1693, in London; died there Sept. 3, 1739. English playwright. Son of a Dutch jeweler.

Lillo’s major plays were The London Merchant, or The History of George Barnwell (1731; Russian translation 1764) and The Fatal Curiosity (1736). His works solidified the position on the English stage of the domestic tragedy, or tragedie bourgeoise, which combined realistic character portrayal with moral edification. His dramas influenced literature in both Great Britain (H. Fielding, E. Moore) and France, where D. Diderot and J.-J. Rousseau were among those who esteemed Lillo highly. In the 19th century, W. Thackeray parodied Lillo’s style in his play George de Barnwell.


Dramatic Works, 2nd ed., vols. 1–2. London, 1810.


Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 1, issue 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1945. Pages 485–89.
Hoffmann, L. George Lillo. Marburg, 1888.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
One play in particular resonates with the catastrophe of Hiram's death and the vertical and horizontal sympathetic attachments this story inspired: The London Merchant by George Lillo.
(43) Harry William Pedicord, "George Lillo and 'Speculative Masonry,'" PQ 53(1974) : 401 -12.
(53) Pedicord, "George Lillo," 404, acknowledges as much in his cursory reading of Lillo's play: "Thorowgood is the Master Mason, and Trueman is his exemplary Entered Apprentice Mason ...
One is often reminded of George Lillo's murderous Millwood from The London Merchant, who in 1731 made the observation:
Douglas Canfield's book ranges from Sir William Davenant's The Siege of Rhodes (1656) to George Lillo's The London Merchant (1731), considering literally scores of plays, to analyze and describe the ideology of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.
Marshaling his evidence with economy in three central chapters, he considers the metaphor of shipwreck, the broad application Dickens makes also of George Lillo's popular eighteenth-century play ("The London Merchant, or The History of George Barnwell"), and of historical movement in Our Mutual Friend.
In his 1738 adaptation, George Lillo made perfect dramatic sense of the Quarto:
Hart deserves particular credit for returning to the English play that inspired German domestic tragedy, George Lillo's The London Merchant (1731), and reminding us how interesting this neglected play is.
Thus the dramas were not very distinct in tone from the pathetic tragedy of George Lillo, The London Merchant, or The History of George Barnwell, where the audience wallows in sympathy as the hero goes to his death.
As we know from George Lillo's own remarks, his play The London Merchant (1731) originally ended in a gallows scene.
(1) Lillo's remarks on this scene are made in an advertisement included in the preliminary pages of Gray's fifth edition (cancel title: "Sixth Edition"), as cited in the introduction to The London Merchant in The Dramatic Works of George Lillo, ed.