The seventeenth-century English collaborative authors Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher were not only the most popular playwrights of their day but also literary figures highly esteemed by the great critics of the age, Jonson and Dryden. Concentrating on the passions of the royalty and high nobility in a courtly atmosphere, their dramas are now usually seen as epitomizing a decadent turn in theater at the end of the Jacobean period. Philip Finkelpearl sets out to change this view by revealing the subtle political challenges contained in the plays and by showing that they criticize rather than exemplify false values. The result is a wholly new conception of this pair of dramatists and of the entire question of the relationship between the Crown and the theater in their time. Finkelpearl presents new biographical material revealing that Beaumont and Fletcher had good and sufficient reasons to be critical of the court and the king, and he shows that their most important works — especially The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Philaster, A King and No King, and The Maid’s Tragedy have such criticism as a central concern. Court and Country Politics in the Plays of Beaumont and Fletcher offers much information on the nature of the “public” and “private” theaters at which these plays were presented and on Jacobean censorship. The book is an impressive explanation of why Beaumont and Fletcher were a central force in the Age of Shakespeare.
Originally published in 1990.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
Awards and Recognition
- One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1991