Devrient, Ludwig (lŏtˈvĭkh dəvrēăNˈ) [key], 1784–1832, German actor. He abandoned a commercial career in 1804 to join a traveling theatrical company. In Berlin he was a favorite in comedy and tragedy, especially in the works of Shakespeare and Schiller. His three nephews were actors. Karl August Devrient, 1797–1872, was popular in heroic and character roles such as Lear, Shylock, and Faust. Karl's brother, Philipp Eduard Devrient, 1801–77, directed the Court Theater, Dresden (1844–46), and the Karlsruhe Theater (1852–70). He wrote several plays and also a history of the German stage (1848–74) in five volumes. With his son, Otto, he published translations of Shakespeare's plays. Gustave Emil Devrient, 1803–72, was the youngest and most gifted of the three brothers. He excelled in youthful, heroic parts. When he gave Hamlet in London, his portrayal was said to equal that of Edmund Kean.
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