JOHN WEBSTER was born in about 1578 in London. He studied law at the Middle Temple before embarking on a career in the theatre, collaborating on many plays with contemporary dramatists. But it was his two solo-authored tragedies, The White Devil (1612) and The Duchess of Malfi (1614), which sealed his reputation. He died in the 1630s. JOHN FORD was born in 1586 in Devon. His early career was wholly concerned with poetry and philosophical works, and it was not until the 1620s that he began writing stage plays, including The Broken Heart (1620) and 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (c.1630). Nothing more is known of Ford after the performance of his last play in 1638. JANE KINGSLEY-SMITH is a Reader at Roehampton University, London and author of Shakespeare's Drama of Exile (2003) and Cupid in Early Modern Literature and Culture (2010).