Famous 19th Century British Playwrights

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Vote for Your Favourite 19th Century British Playwrights

 1 
P B Shelley
(One of the Epic Poets of the 19th Century)

P B Shelley
5
Birthdate: August 4, 1792
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Warnham, United Kingdom
Died: July 8, 1822
Legendary English Romantic poetry P.B. Shelley is remembered for his masterpieces such as Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark, and Prometheus Unbound. He was known for his poetic imagery, and his popularity soared after his premature death due to drowning while boating at age 29. 

 2 

P G Wodehouse
4
Birthdate: October 15, 1881
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Guildford, England
Died: February 14, 1975

 3 
J. B. Priestley
(Novelist and Playwright)

J. B. Priestley
4
Birthdate: September 13, 1894
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died: August 14, 1984
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Frances Hodgson Burnett
4
Birthdate: November 24, 1849
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cheetham, Manchester, England
Died: October 29, 1924

 5 
Ivor Novello
(Actor, Playwright, Composer, Writer, Screenwriter, Songwriter)

Ivor Novello
3
Birthdate: January 15, 1893
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cardiff
Died: March 6, 1951

 6 
Edgar Wallace
(Multi-genre writer who is most famous for King Kong and the J. G. Reeder detective series)

Edgar Wallace
3
Birthdate: April 1, 1875
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Greenwich, Kent, England, united Kingdom
Died: February 10, 1932

 7 
William Maugham
(Novelist & Playwright)

William Maugham
3
Birthdate: January 25, 1874
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 15, 1965
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 8 
W. S. Gilbert
(Dramatist)

W. S. Gilbert
3
Birthdate: November 18, 1836
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Southampton Street, London, England
Died: May 29, 1911

Edward Bulwer-Lytton
4
Birthdate: May 25, 1803
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 18, 1873

 10 

Arnold Ridley
4
Birthdate: January 7, 1896
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bath, Somerset, England, UK [now Bath and North East Somerset, England, UK]
Died: March 12, 1984

Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany
3
Birthdate: July 24, 1878
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 25, 1957

Edward Plunkett was a talented Irish author, known for his fantasy novels such as The King of Elfland's Daughter. Initially educated at Eton and then at Sandhurst, he had also been part of the British Army in World War I. He also designed chess puzzles and was a keen hunter.

 12 
George Arliss
(Writer, Playwright, Film director, Autobiographer, Screenwriter, Stage actor, Film actor)

George Arliss
3
Birthdate: April 10, 1868
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London
Died: February 5, 1946

 13 

Alfred Noyes
3
Birthdate: September 16, 1880
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wolverhampton
Died: June 28, 1958

 14 
Howard Staunton
(Chess Master)

Howard Staunton
3
Birthdate: April 1, 1810
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
Died: June 22, 1874

 15 
Mina Loy
(Poet)

Mina Loy
3
Birthdate: December 27, 1882
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 25, 1966

 16 

R.C. Sherriff
3
Birthdate: June 6, 1896
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hampton Wick, England
Died: November 13, 1975

 17 

Israel Zangwill
3
Birthdate: January 21, 1864
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 1, 1926

 18 
Seymour Hicks
(Actor, Film producer, Playwright)

Seymour Hicks
3
Birthdate: January 30, 1871
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Helier, Jersey
Died: April 6, 1949

 19 
Anthony Hope
(Novelist)

Anthony Hope
3
Birthdate: February 9, 1863
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lower Clapton, London, England
Died: July 8, 1933

Best known for his iconic novel The Prisoner of Zenda, Anthony Hope specialized in cloak-and-sword romances and eventually created a separate genre, known as the Ruritanian romance, set in the mythical country of Ruritania. He was also knighted for his achievements but eventually succumbed to throat cancer.

 20 
Henry Mayhew
(Journalist)

Henry Mayhew
3
Birthdate: November 25, 1812
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 25, 1887

A co-founder of the iconic British satirical magazine Punch, Henry Mayhew ran away from home to work for the East India Company on a ship to Calcutta. He then worked as a trainee lawyer, before finding his footing in freelance journalism. He remains best-known for his 4-volume London Labour and the London Poor.

 21 

Felicia Hemans
2
Birthdate: September 25, 1793
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Died: May 16, 1835

 22 
Enid Bagnold
(Author)

Enid Bagnold
2
Birthdate: October 27, 1889
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rochester, England
Died: March 31, 1981

 23 
Matthew Lewis
(Novelist)

Matthew Lewis
3
Birthdate: July 9, 1775
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 14, 1818

Remembered as Monk Lewis, because of his iconic Gothic novel The Monk, English novelist Matthew Lewis initially worked for the British embassy in the Netherlands. The owner of a huge fortune in Jamaica, he made a voyage to the place to supervise his slaves but died of yellow fever on the voyage back.

 24 

Karl August Wittfogel
2
Birthdate: September 6, 1896
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Woltersdorf, Lüchow, Province of Hanover, Free State of Prussia, German Empire
Died: May 25, 1988

 25 

Michael Arlen
2
Birthdate: November 16, 1895
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ruse, Bulgaria
Died: June 23, 1956

Michael Arlen was born in Bulgaria, into an Armenian merchant family that had escaped to avoid persecution in the Ottoman Empire. The family then moved to England, where he later penned his iconic novel The Green Hat. Apart from romances, he also wrote thrillers, one of which was adapted by Hitchcock.

 26 
Charles Reade
(Novelist)

Charles Reade
2
Birthdate: June 8, 1814
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ipsden, England
Died: April 11, 1884

Micheál MacLiammóir
2
Birthdate: October 25, 1899
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England
Died: March 6, 1978

 28 
Eric Partridge
(Lexicographer)

Eric Partridge
2
Birthdate: February 6, 1894
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Waimata Valley, New Zealand
Died: June 1, 1979

Eric Partridge was a New Zealand–British lexicographer whose writing career was interrupted by his service in the Royal Air Force and the Army Education Corps during World War II. Over the course of his literary career, Partridge wrote over 40 books and his papers are archived at institutions like the University of Birmingham and the University of San Francisco.

 29 
Frederick Lonsdale
(Playwright)

Frederick Lonsdale
2
Birthdate: February 5, 1881
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Helier, Jersey
Died: April 4, 1954

 30 
Charles Dibdin
(Composer)

Charles Dibdin
2
Birthdate: March 4, 1745
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Southampton, England
Died: July 25, 1814

Sir Arthur Wing Pinero
2
Birthdate: 1855 AD
Died: 1934 AD

 32 

Mary Russell Mitford
2
Birthdate: December 16, 1787
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Alresford, England
Died: January 10, 1855

 33 
Laurence Housman
(Playwright)

Laurence Housman
2
Birthdate: July 18, 1865
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bromsgrove, England
Died: February 20, 1959

 34 

Maurice Baring
2
Birthdate: April 27, 1874
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 14, 1945

An heir of the Baring banking family of England, Maurice Baring was educated at Eton and Cambridge. After being a diplomat for a while, he stepped into journalism and covered events such as the Russo-Japanese War. Known for his novels such as C, he also translated a lot of Russian works.

 35 

Eden Phillpotts
2
Birthdate: November 4, 1862
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mount Abu, Rajasthan, India
Died: December 29, 1960

Eden Phillpotts was an English poet, author, and dramatist whose comic play The Farmer's Wife inspired several films, including Alfred Hitchcock's 1928 movie of the same name. His works were admired by writers like Jorge Luis Borges and Agatha Christie. Phillpotts also worked towards the conservation of Dartmoor National Park. For many years, he served as Dartmoor Preservation Association’s president.

 36 
Tom Taylor
(Dramatist)

Tom Taylor
2
Birthdate: October 19, 1817
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bishopwearmouth, Sunderland, England
Died: July 12, 1880

Tom Taylor was an English biographer, dramatist, critic, and public servant. He also contributed as an editor for the popular British weekly magazine, Punch. His best-known playwright work Our American Cousin has gained historical significance as Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865 while watching this particular play.

 37 

John Drinkwater
2
Birthdate: June 1, 1882
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Leytonstone, London, England
Died: March 25, 1937

Harley Granville-Barker
2
Birthdate: November 25, 1877
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 31, 1946

 39 
Marcus Clarke
(Novelist)

Marcus Clarke
4
Birthdate: April 24, 1846
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kensington, London, England
Died: August 2, 1881

Marcus Clarke was a 19th-century English-born Australian novelist, journalist, poet, editor,  and playwright. His novel For the Term of His Natural Life is considered a classic of Australian literature and has been adapted into many plays and films. He became a major literary figure at a young age but was plagued by numerous issues, leading to his early death.  

 40 

Charlotte Lennox
2
Birthdate: 1730 AD
Birthplace: Gibraltar, United Kingdom
Died: January 4, 1804

 41 
Ben Travers
(Writer)

Ben Travers
1
Birthdate: November 12, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hendon, England
Died: December 18, 1980

 42 
Guy Bolton
(Playwright)

Guy Bolton
2
Birthdate: November 23, 1884
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Broxbourne, England
Died: September 4, 1979

 43 
Susanna Rowson
(Novelist)

Susanna Rowson
2
Birthdate: 1762 AD
Birthplace: Portsmouth, England
Died: March 2, 1824

 44 

Elizabeth Inchbald
2
Birthdate: October 15, 1753
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Suffolk, England
Died: August 1, 1821

 45 
Charles Langbridge Morgan
(Author and critic)

Charles Langbridge Morgan
2
Birthdate: January 22, 1894
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bromley, United Kingdom
Died: February 6, 1958

 46 
Fleeming Jenkin
(Engineer)

Fleeming Jenkin
2
Birthdate: March 25, 1833
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dungeness, England
Died: June 12, 1885

After a 10-year stint as an engineer working to construct and install submarine telegraph cables, Fleeming Jenkin published reports establishing the ohm as the unit of electrical resistance. He is also remembered as the inventor of the cable car and taught at institutes such as the University of Edinburgh.

Thomas Lovell Beddoes
1
Birthdate: June 30, 1803
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Clifton, Bristol, England
Died: January 26, 1849

 48 
William John Locke
(Novelist, Playwright)

William John Locke
0
Birthdate: March 20, 1863
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Demerara, Guyana
Died: May 15, 1930

 49 

Henry Arthur Jones
1
Birthdate: September 20, 1851
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Grandborough, England
Died: January 7, 1929

 50 

George Colman the Younger
1
Birthdate: October 21, 1762
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 17, 1836