DOUGLAS WILLIAM JERROLD (London 3 January 1803 – 8 June 1857 London) was an English dramatist and writer.
* 1 Biography * 2 Career in the theatre * 3 Career as a journalist * 4 Works * 5 See also
* 6 References
* 6.1 Further reading
* 7 External links
Jerrold's father, Samuel Jerrold, was an actor and lessee of the little theatre of Wilsby near Cranbrook in Kent. In 1807 Douglas moved to Sheerness , where he spent his childhood. He occasionally took a child part on the stage, but his father's profession held little attraction for him. In December 1813 he joined the guardship _Namur _, where he had Jane Austen 's brother Francis as captain, and served as a midshipman until the peace of 1815. He saw nothing of the war save a number of wounded soldiers from Waterloo , but he retained an affection for the sea.
The peace of 1815 ruined Jerrold's father; on 1 January 1816 he took his family to London, where Douglas began work as a printer's apprentice, and in 1819 he became a compositor in the printing-office of the _Sunday Monitor_. Several short papers and copies of verses by him had already appeared in the sixpenny magazines, and a criticism of the opera _ Der Freischütz _ was admired by the editor, who requested further contributions. Thus Jerrold became a professional journalist.
Jerrold's figure was small and spare, and in later years bowed almost
to deformity. His features were strongly marked and expressive, from
the thin humorous lips to the keen blue eyes, gleaming from beneath
the shaggy eyebrows. He was brisk and active, with the careless
bluffness of a sailor. Open and sincere, he concealed neither his
anger nor his pleasure; to his sailor's frankness all polite duplicity
was distasteful. The cynical side of his nature he kept for his
writings; in private life his hand was always open. In politics
Jerrold was a Liberal , and he gave eager sympathy to
Lajos Kossuth ,
Giuseppe Mazzini and
Douglas Jerrold is now perhaps better known from his reputation as a brilliant wit in conversation than from his writings. As a dramatist he was very popular, though his plays have not kept the stage. He dealt with rather humbler forms of social world than had commonly been represented on the boards. He was one of the first and certainly one of the most successful of the men who in defence of the native English drama endeavoured to stem the tide of translation from the French, which threatened early in the 19th century to drown original native talent. His skill in construction and his mastery of epigram and brilliant dialogue are well exemplified in his comedy, _Time Works Wonders_ (Haymarket, 26 April 1845). The tales and sketches which form the bulk of Jerrold's collected works vary much in skill and interest; but, although there are evident traces of their having been composed from week to week, they are always marked by keen satirical observation and pungent wit.
CAREER IN THE THEATRE
In 1821, a comedy that Jerrold had written at the age of 14 was
brought out at Sadler\'s Wells theatre under the title _More
Frightened than Hurt_. Other plays followed, and in 1825 he was
employed for a few pounds weekly to produce dramas and farces to order
for George Bolwell Davidge of the
Coburg Theatre . In the autumn of
1824, the "little Shakespeare in a camlet cloak", as he was nicknamed,
married Mary Swan and continued to work as both dramatist and
journalist. For a short while he was part proprietor of a small Sunday
newspaper. In 1829, through a quarrel with the exacting Davidge,
Jerrold left for
In 1829, a three-act melodrama about corrupt personnel and press
gangs of the Navy launched his fame. _
Black-Eyed Susan _; or, _All in
the Downs_, was brought out by manager
Robert William Elliston at the
Surrey Theatre . Britain at the time was recovering from the fallout
It was proposed in 1830 that he should adapt something from the French language for Drury Lane . He declined, preferring to produce original work. _The Bride of Ludgate_ (8 December 1832) was the first of a number of his plays produced at Drury Lane. The other patent houses also threw their doors open to him (the Adelphi had already done so); and in 1836 Jerrold became the manager of the Strand Theatre with W. J. Hammond, his brother-in-law. The venture was not successful, and the partnership was dissolved. While it lasted, Jerrold wrote his only tragedy , _The Painter of Ghent_, and himself appeared in the title role, without much success.
Jerrold acted in the 1851 production of Not So Bad As We Seem , a
play written by
Edward Bulwer , starring many notable Victorians
CAREER AS A JOURNALIST
Jerrold wrote for numerous periodicals, and gradually became a contributor to the _Monthly Magazine_, _Blackwood\'s _, the _New Monthly_, and the _Athenaeum _. To _Punch _, the publication which of all others is associated with his name, he contributed from its second number in 1841 until within a few days of his death. _Punch_ was a humorous and liberal publication. Jerrold's liberal and radical perspective was portrayed in the magazine under the pseudonym 'Q', which used satire to attack institutions of the day. _Punch_ was also the forum in which he published in the 1840s his comic series _Mrs Caudle\'s Curtain Lectures_, which was later published in book form.
He contributed many articles for _Punch_ under different pseudonyms.
On 13 July 1850 he wrote as 'Mrs Amelia Mouser' about the forthcoming
Great Exhibition of 1851 , coining the phrase the _palace of very
crystal_. From that day forward, the Crystal Palace , at that time
still a proposal from his friend
He founded and edited for some time, with indifferent success, the
_Illuminated Magazine_, _Jerrold's Shilling Magazine_, and _Douglas
Jerrold's Weekly Newspaper_; and under his editorship from 1852,
_Lloyd\'s Weekly Newspaper _ rose from almost nonentity to a
circulation of 182,000. The history of his later years is little more
than a catalogue of his literary productions, interrupted now and
again by brief visits to the Continent or to the country. Douglas
Jerrold died at his house, Kilburn Priory, in London on 8 June 1857
and was buried at
West Norwood Cemetery