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Heavysege, Charles

Playwright/poet born in Liverpool, England in 1816; died in Montreal in 1876. He left school at the age of nine, but was self-educated in Shakespeare and Milton, and thoroughly conversant with the bible. He immigrated to Canada in 1853. In Montreal he became a journalist, first for the Transcript and then city editor for the Montreal Witness until 1874.

His verse plays - Saul and Count Filippo; or, The Unequal Marriage - were never produced in his lifetime. His pieces were heavily influenced by the romantic poets, the 19th century English revival of Jacobean drama, Shakespeare, and the Bible. The published Saul did have some success, however, with three editions and admirers like Nathanial Hawthorne and H.W. Longfellow.

Saul replays Paradise Lost in terms of the struggle between an arbitrary God and compassionate man, with a sympathetic inclination towards the perspective of the devil. Count Filippo is an Italianate morality play about marriage between generations.

Both plays were produced as radio dramas by the CBC in 1968 and 1973.

Source: George Woodcock. The Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre. Eds. Eugene Benson and L.W. Conolly. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Last updated 2013-02-08