Nathan Field was an English dramatist. He was an actor, his father was the Puritan preacher John Field, his brother Theophilus Field became the Bishop of Llandaff. One of his brothers named Nathaniel confused with the actor, became a printer. Nathan's father passionately opposed London's public entertainments: he delivered a sermon which attributed Divine judgment to the collapse of the public seating area, during a bear baiting on a Sunday, at Beargarden in 1583, which resulted in several deaths. Nathan did not intend a career in the theatre. At some point before 1600, he was impressed by Nathaniel Giles, the master of Elizabeth's choir and one of the managers of the new troupe of boy players at Blackfriars Theatre, called alternately the Children of the Chapel Royal and the Blackfriars Children, he remained in this profession for the remainder of his life adding to it the profession of a playwright. John Field was buried on 26 March 1588; when John Field died, he left seven children. He left all his property to Joan.
The first child was a daughter, baptized on 7 May 1570. The first son was named after his father, John. Theophilus was baptized on 22 January 1574, Jonathan on 13 May 1577, Nathaniel on 13 June 1581, Elizabeth on 2 February 1583 and Nathan on 17 October 1587. Little is known of the two daughters: Dorcas was married to Edward Rice on 9 November 1590. We know nothing of the life of junior. Jonathan Field, who died in 1640. Theophilus followed his father's profession, he in his will left all his possessions to his wife, Alice. He was buried in Hereford Cathedral; as a member of the Children of the Queen's Revels, Field acted in the innovative drama staged at Blackfriars in the first years of the 17th century. Cast lists associate him with The Poetaster. In the decade, he performed in Epicoene and played Humphrey in Francis Beaumont's The Knight of the Burning Pestle. During the same years, he wrote commendatory verses for Jonson's Volpone and Catiline, for John Fletcher's The Faithful Shepherdess. Field was also among those of the children's company imprisoned for the official displeasure occasioned by Eastward Hoe and John Day's The Isle of Gulls.
Field stayed with a children's company until his twenty-sixth year. He appears to be the only one of the boy actors of 1600 to remain with the Blackfriars troupe when, in 1609, Philip Rosseter and Robert Keysar assumed control of the company. In this company, he performed in the theatre in Whitefriars and at court, in plays such as Beaumont and Fletcher's The Coxcomb. From the latter years of this period come the first of his plays: A Woman is a Weathercock and The Honest Man's Fortune. In 1613, Rosseter combined his company with the Lady Elizabeth's Men, managed by Philip Henslowe. Performing at the Swan Theatre and Hope Theatre, Field acted in Thomas Middleton's A Chaste Maid in Cheapside and Jonson's Bartholomew Fair. For the latter play, in which he may have performed as Cokes or Littlewit, he received payment for the company after a performance at court; these years witnessed some degree of tumult. This period ended when Henslowe died, Rosseter abandoned his plans, Lady Elizabeth's Men merged and separated from Prince Charles's Men, thereafter touring in the country.
For Field, the period had a more satisfactory end: by late 1616, he had joined the King's Men. With the King's Men, Field seems to have performed as Voltore in Volpone and as Face in The Alchemist, it is not clear. Edmond Malone supposed. Of course he acted in a number of Fletcher's plays, as well as Shakespeare's. Field died some time between May 1619 and August 1620. Scholars and critics have argued for authorial contributions from Field in a number of plays of his era, most in Four Plays in One, The Honest Man's Fortune, The Queen of Corinth and The Knight of Malta, four dramas in the canon of Fletcher and his collaborators. Field had a contemporary reputation as a ladies' man. A portrait believed to be of Field can be seen at Dulwich Picture Gallery in London, UK. Where he is depicted as a melancholy figure with hand on heart, it has been said that this painting may be one of the first depictions of an actor "in character"; the portrait artist is unknown. Susan Cooper's King of Shadows is a work of fiction.
It is set in 1599, uses Field's background as a student of Richard Mulcaster's at St
William Shakespeare was an English poet and actor regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon", his extant works, including collaborations, consist of 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men known as the King's Men. At age 49, he appears to have retired to Stratford. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive; such theories are criticised for failing to adequately note that few records survive of most commoners of the period.
Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were comedies and histories and are regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres; until about 1608, he wrote tragedies, among them Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, all considered to be among the finest works in the English language. In the last phase of his life, he collaborated with other playwrights. Many of Shakespeare's plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy in his lifetime. However, in 1623, two fellow actors and friends of Shakespeare's, John Heminges and Henry Condell, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of Shakespeare's dramatic works that included all but two of his plays; the volume was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Jonson presciently hails Shakespeare in a now-famous quote as "not of an age, but for all time". Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Shakespeare's works have been continually adapted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance.
His plays remain popular and are studied and reinterpreted through various cultural and political contexts around the world. William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare, an alderman and a successful glover from Snitterfield, Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning farmer, he was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and baptised there on 26 April 1564. His actual date of birth remains unknown, but is traditionally observed on 23 April, Saint George's Day; this date, which can be traced to a mistake made by an 18th-century scholar, has proved appealing to biographers because Shakespeare died on the same date in 1616. He was the third of eight children, the eldest surviving son. Although no attendance records for the period survive, most biographers agree that Shakespeare was educated at the King's New School in Stratford, a free school chartered in 1553, about a quarter-mile from his home. Grammar schools varied in quality during the Elizabethan era, but grammar school curricula were similar: the basic Latin text was standardised by royal decree, the school would have provided an intensive education in grammar based upon Latin classical authors.
At the age of 18, Shakespeare married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway. The consistory court of the Diocese of Worcester issued a marriage licence on 27 November 1582; the next day, two of Hathaway's neighbours posted bonds guaranteeing that no lawful claims impeded the marriage. The ceremony may have been arranged in some haste since the Worcester chancellor allowed the marriage banns to be read once instead of the usual three times, six months after the marriage Anne gave birth to a daughter, baptised 26 May 1583. Twins, son Hamnet and daughter Judith, followed two years and were baptised 2 February 1585. Hamnet died of unknown causes at the age of 11 and was buried 11 August 1596. After the birth of the twins, Shakespeare left few historical traces until he is mentioned as part of the London theatre scene in 1592; the exception is the appearance of his name in the "complaints bill" of a law case before the Queen's Bench court at Westminster dated Michaelmas Term 1588 and 9 October 1589. Scholars refer to the years between 1585 and 1592 as Shakespeare's "lost years".
Biographers attempting to account for this period have reported many apocryphal stories. Nicholas Rowe, Shakespeare's first biographer, recounted a Stratford legend that Shakespeare fled the town for London to escape prosecution for deer poaching in the estate of local squire Thomas Lucy. Shakespeare is supposed to have taken his revenge on Lucy by writing a scurrilous ballad about him. Another 18th-century story has Shakespeare starting his theatrical career minding the horses of theatre patrons in London. John Aubrey reported; some 20th-century scholars have suggested that Shakespeare may have been employed as a schoolmaster by Alexander Hoghton of Lancashire, a Catholic landowner who named a certain "William Shakeshafte" in his will. Little evidence substantiates such stories other than hearsay collected after his death, Shakeshafte was a common name in the Lancashire area, it is not known definitively when Shakespeare began writing, but contemporary allusions and records of performances show that several of
Thomas Middleton was an English Jacobean playwright and poet. Middleton stands with John Fletcher and Ben Jonson among the most successful and prolific of the playwrights at work during the Jacobean period, he was among the few to achieve equal success in comedy and tragedy, a prolific writer of masques and pageants. Middleton was born in London and baptised on 18 April 1580, he was the son of a bricklayer who had raised himself to the status of a gentleman and who owned property adjoining the Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch. Middleton was just five when his father died and his mother's subsequent remarriage dissolved into a 15-year battle over the inheritance of Thomas and his younger sister – an experience which must have informed and incited his repeated satire at the expense of the legal profession. Middleton attended Queen’s College, matriculating in 1598, but he did not graduate. Before he left Oxford, he published three long poems in popular Elizabethan styles. None appears to have been successful, one, his book of satires, ran foul of an Anglican Church ban on verse satire and was burned.
His literary career was launched. In the early 17th century, Middleton made a living writing topical pamphlets, including one – Penniless Parliament of Threadbare Poets –, reprinted several times and became the subject of a parliamentary inquiry. At the same time, records in the diary of Philip Henslowe show that Middleton was writing for the Admiral's Men. Unlike Shakespeare, Middleton remained a free agent, able to write for, his early dramatic career was marked by controversy. His friendship with Thomas Dekker brought him into conflict with Ben Jonson and George Chapman in the War of the Theatres; the grudge against Jonson continued as late as 1626, when Jonson's play The Staple of News indulges in a slur on Middleton's great success, A Game at Chess. It has been argued that Middleton's Inner Temple Masque sneers at Jonson as a "silenced bricklayer."In 1603, Middleton married. In the same year an outbreak of the plague forced the theatres in London to close, while James I came to the English throne.
These events marked the beginning of Middleton's greatest period as a playwright. Having passed the time during the plague composing prose pamphlets, he returned to drama with great energy, producing a score of plays for several companies and in several genres, most notably city comedy and revenge tragedy, he continued his collaborations with Dekker, the two produced The Roaring Girl, a biography of the contemporary thief Mary Frith. In the 1610s, Middleton began a fruitful collaboration with the actor William Rowley, producing Wit at Several Weapons and A Fair Quarrel. Working alone he produced his comic masterpiece, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside, in 1613, his own plays from this decade reveal a somewhat mellowed temper. There is no comedy among them with the satirical depth of Michaelmas Term and no tragedy as bloodthirsty as The Revenger's Tragedy. Middleton was, at the same time involved with civic pageants; this last connection was made official in 1620, when he was appointed chronologer of the City of London.
He held this post until his death in 1627. Middleton's official duties did not interrupt his dramatic writing. In 1624, he reached a peak of notoriety when his dramatic allegory A Game at Chess was staged by the King's Men; the play used the conceit of a chess game to present and satirise the recent intrigues surrounding the Spanish Match. Though Middleton's approach was patriotic, the Privy Council silenced the play after nine performances, having received a complaint from the Spanish ambassador. Middleton faced an unknown frightening degree of punishment. Since no play than A Game at Chess is recorded, it has been suggested that this included a ban on writing for the stage. Middleton died at his home at Newington Butts in Southwark in 1627, was buried on 4 July in St Mary's churchyard; the old church of St Mary's was demolished in 1876 to facilitate road-widening, its replacement elsewhere in Kennington Park Road was destroyed in the Second World War but rebuilt in 1958. The old churchyard where Middleton was buried survives as a public park in Castle.
Middleton wrote in many genres, including tragedy and city comedy. His best-known plays are the tragedies The Changeling and Women Beware Women, the cynically satirical city comedy A Chaste Maid in Cheapside. Earlier editions of The Revenger's Tragedy attributed the play to Cyril Tourneur, or refused to arbitrate between Middleton and Tourneur. Since the statistical studies by David Lake and MacDonald P. Jackson, Middleton's authorship has not been contested, no further scholar has defended the Tourneur attribution; the Oxford Middleton and its companion piece, Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture, offer extensive evidence both for Middleton's authorship of The Revenger's Tragedy, for his collaboration with Shakespeare on Timon of Athens, for his adaptation and revision of Shakespeare's Macbeth and Measure for Measure. It has been argued that Middleton collaborated with Shakespeare on All's Well That Ends Well. Middleton's work is diverse by the standards of his age, he did not have the kind of official relationship with a particular company that Shakespeare or Fletcher had.
Instead he appears to have written on a freelance basis for any number of companies. His output rang
Philip Massinger was an English dramatist. His finely plotted plays, including A New Way to Pay Old Debts, The City Madam and The Roman Actor, are noted for their satire and realism, their political and social themes; the son of Arthur Massinger or Messanger, he was baptized at St. Thomas's Salisbury on 24 November 1583, he belonged to an old Salisbury family, for the name occurs in the city records as early as 1415. He is described in his matriculation entry at Oxford, as the son of a gentleman, his father, educated at St. Alban Hall, was a member of parliament, was attached to the household of Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke. Herbert recommended Arthur in 1587 for the office of examiner in the Court of the Marches. William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, who would come to oversee the London Stage and the royal company as King James's Lord Chamberlain, succeeded to the title in 1601, it has been suggested that he supported Massinger at Oxford, but the omission of any reference to him in any of Massinger's prefaces points to the contrary.
Massinger left Oxford without a degree in 1606. His father had died in 1603, that may have left him without financial assistance; the lack of a degree and the want of patronage from Lord Pembroke may both be explained on the supposition that he had become Roman Catholic. On leaving the university he went to London to make his living as a dramatist, but his name cannot be affixed to any play until fifteen years when The Virgin Martyr appeared as the work of Massinger and Thomas Dekker. During these years he worked in collaboration with other dramatists. A joint letter, from Nathan Field, Robert Daborne and Philip Massinger, to Philip Henslowe, begs for an immediate loan of five pounds to release them from their "unfortunate extremity," the money to be taken from the balance due for the "play of Mr. Fletcher's and ours." A second document shows that Massinger and Daborne owed Henslowe £3 on 4 July 1615. The earlier note dates from 1613, from this time Massinger worked with John Fletcher. Sir Aston Cockayne, Massinger's constant friend and patron, refers in explicit terms to this collaboration in a sonnet addressed to Humphrey Moseley on the publication of his folio edition of Beaumont and Fletcher, in an epitaph on the two poets he says: "Plays they did write together, were great friends, And now one grave includes them in their ends."
After Philip Henslowe's death in 1616 Massinger and Fletcher began to write for the King's Men. Between 1623 and 1626 Massinger produced unaided for the Lady Elizabeth's Men playing at the Cockpit Theatre, three pieces, The Parliament of Love, The Bondman and The Renegado. With the exception of these plays and The Great Duke of Florence, produced in 1627 by Queen Henrietta's Men, Massinger continued to write for the King's Men until his death; the tone of the dedications of his plays affords evidence of his continued poverty. In the preface to The Maid of Honour he wrote, addressing Sir Francis Foljambe and Sir Thomas Bland: "I had not to this time subsisted, but that I was supported by your frequent courtesies and favours."The prologue to The Guardian refers to two unsuccessful plays and two years of silence, when the author feared he had lost the popular favour. It is probable that this break in his production was owing to his free handling of political matters. In 1631, Sir Henry Herbert, the Master of the Revels, refused to license an unnamed play by Massinger because of "dangerous matter as the deposing of Sebastian, King of Portugal," calculated to endanger good relations between England and Spain.
There is little doubt that this was the same piece as Believe as You List, in which time and place are changed, Antiochus being substituted for Sebastian, Rome for Spain. In the prologue, Massinger apologizes for his ignorance of history, professes that his accuracy is at fault if his picture comes near "a late and sad example." The obvious "late and sad example" of a wandering prince could be no other than Charles I's brother-in-law, the Elector Palatine. An allusion to the same subject may be traced in The Maid of Honour. In another play by Massinger, not extant, Charles I is reported to have himself struck out a passage put into the mouth of Don Pedro, king of Spain, as "too insolent." The poet seems to have adhered to the politics of his patron, Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke, who had leanings to democracy and was a personal enemy of the Duke of Buckingham. The servility towards the Crown displayed in Beaumont and Fletcher's plays reflected the temper of the court of James I; the attitude of Massinger's heroes and heroines towards kings is different.
Camiola's remarks on the limitations of the royal prerogative could hardly be acceptable at court. Massinger died at his house near the Globe Theatre, was buried in the churchyard of St. Saviour's, Southwark, on 18 March 1640. In the entry in the parish register he is described as a "stranger," which, implies nothing more than that he belonged to another parish, he is buried in the same tomb as Fletcher. That grave can be seen to this day in the chancel of what is now Southwark Cathedral near London Bridge on the south bank of the Thames. There the names of Fletcher and Massinger appear on adjacent plaques laid in the floor between the choir stalls. Next to these is a plaque commemorating Edmund Shakespeare, buried in the Cathedral, although the exact location of his grave is unknown; the supposition that Massinger was a Roman Catholic rests upon three of his
The Maid's Tragedy
The Maid's Tragedy is a play by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. It was first published in 1619; the play has provoked divided responses from critics. The play's date of origin is not known with certainty. In 1611, Sir George Buck, the Master of the Revels, named The Second Maiden's Tragedy based on the resemblances he perceived between the two works. Scholars assign the Beaumont/Fletcher play to c. 1608–1611. Scholars and critics agree that the play is the work of Beaumont; the play was entered into the Stationers' Register on 28 April 1619, published that year by the bookseller Francis Constable. Subsequent editions appeared in 1622, 1630, 1638, 1641, 1650, 1661; the play was included in the second Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1679. The texts of the first quarto of 1619, the second of 1622, are synthesized to create modern editions, since Q2 contains eighty lines not included in Q1, plus a couple of hundred changes and corrections on Q1. Melantius, a young general, returns from a military campaign which he has just concluded, winning peace for Rhodes.
He is greeted by Lysippus. Melantius expects to have returned to witness the wedding of his friend Amintor with Aspatia, his betrothed, but instead the King has ordered Amintor to marry Melantius's sister, Evadne, in order to honour her brother's military achievements. Aspatia is melancholy at this, but the whole court is about to celebrate the wedding with a masque. Aspatia's aged father Calianax and a servant are attempting to keep the populace out of the palace as the masque is for the court alone. Calianax has been ‘humorous’ since his daughter's wedding was broken off and quarrels with Melantius and with Amintor; the masque of Night and Cynthia is held with various songs, Evadne and Amintor are taken to their wedding chamber. Outside the chamber Evadne's maid Dula jokes bawdily with her mistress, but Aspatia cannot join in the banter and announces she will die of grief, taking a last farewell of Amintor when he enters. Left alone with her husband Evadne refuses to sleep with him and reveals that the King has forcibly made her his mistress and has arranged this marriage to cover up her ‘dishonour’.
Amintor is horrified, but agrees to go through with the charade of pretending to be a married couple. He sleeps on the floor. Aspatia is talking with her maids. One of them has produced a suitable theme for Aspatia's plight. Calianax is angry at the situation, breathing threats against the men of the court; the morning after the wedding night some male courtiers are talking bawdily outside the chamber and are joined by Melantius. Evadne and Amintor emerge and continue with the pretense, but Amintor is so distressed he says various strange things and Melantius and Evadne notice; the King and courtiers enter and he quizzes the couple. He satisfies himself that the couple have not slept together and he lets Amintor know the rules: he is to allow Evadne to come to him whenever he wants and is to stay away from her himself. Melantius quarrels with Calianax again, he dissuades his friend from revenge and counsels patience, but once Amintor has left he begins to plot to kill the King. In order to do this he has to have control of the citadel, governed by Calianax.
The old man enters again and Melantius proposes common revenge for the injuries that the King has done them both, but after he leaves Calianax resolves to go straight to the King with this information. Melantius forces her to reveal what has happened, he gets her to promise to kill the King. He leaves and Amintor enters, Evadne apologises for the situation, but doesn’t reveal she is to kill the King. Calianax has told the King of Melantius’ plot, however the King has difficulty believing him. In the ensuing scene with the whole court, Meliantius outfaces Calianax's accusations and leaves him looking foolish; when everyone except these two leave, Calianax tells Melantius he has no option but to go along with the plot and hand over the citadel. Melantius expects Evadne to kill the King that night, but at this point Amintor enters talking wildly of revenge and Melantius has to pretend that none is planned; the King has summoned Evadne. She soliloquises and ties his arms to the bed, she wakes him and tells him she is going to kill him for his rape of her.
The King doesn’t believe her, but she stabs him, makes sure he is dead leaves. The King's body is discovered and his brother Lysippus is proclaimed the new King. Melantius, his brother Diphilus, the unwilling Calianax are standing on the citadel explaining to the populace why the King was killed; the new King enters, after some negotiation the three agree to give up the citadel in return for a pardon. Aspatia enters the palace dressed as a man seeking Amintor; when she finds him she pretends to be a brother of hers looking to fight Amintor to avenge the insult offered to his sister. After much provocation she gets him to fight, but during the fight she drops her guard deliberately and is fatally wounded. Evadne enters with the bloody knife and asks Amintor to take her as his wife in actuality, he hesitates and she stabs herself. He reenters to find her dead and th
Samuel Pepys was an administrator of the navy of England and Member of Parliament, most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a young man. Pepys had no maritime experience, but he rose to be the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty under both King Charles II and King James II through patronage, hard work, his talent for administration, his influence and reforms at the Admiralty were important in the early professionalisation of the Royal Navy. The detailed private diary that Pepys kept from 1660 until 1669 was first published in the 19th century and is one of the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period, it provides a combination of personal revelation and eyewitness accounts of great events, such as the Great Plague of London, the Second Dutch War, the Great Fire of London. Pepys was born in Salisbury Court, Fleet Street, London on 23 February 1633, the son of John Pepys, a tailor, Margaret Pepys, daughter of a Whitechapel butcher, his great uncle Talbot Pepys was Recorder and Member of Parliament for Cambridge in 1625.
His father's first cousin Sir Richard Pepys was elected MP for Sudbury in 1640, appointed Baron of the Exchequer on 30 May 1654, appointed Lord Chief Justice of Ireland on 25 September 1655. Pepys was the fifth of eleven children, but child mortality was high and he was soon the oldest survivor, he was baptised at St Bride's Church on 3 March 1633. Pepys did not spend all of his infancy in London. In about 1644, Pepys attended Huntingdon Grammar School before being educated at St Paul's School, London, c. 1646–1650. He attended the execution of Charles I in 1649. In 1650, he went to the University of Cambridge, having received two exhibitions from St Paul's School and a grant from the Mercers' Company. In October, he was admitted as a sizar to Magdalene College. In 1654 or early in 1655, he entered the household of another of his father's cousins, Sir Edward Montagu, created the 1st Earl of Sandwich. Pepys married fourteen-year-old Elisabeth de St Michel, a descendant of French Huguenot immigrants, first in a religious ceremony on 10 October 1655 and in a civil ceremony on 1 December 1655 at St Margaret's, Westminster.
From a young age, Pepys suffered from bladder stones in his urinary tract—a condition from which his mother and brother John later suffered. He was never without pain, as well as other symptoms, including "blood in the urine". By the time of his marriage, the condition was severe. In 1657 Pepys decided to undergo surgery. Pepys consulted surgeon Thomas Hollier and, on 26 March 1658, the operation took place in a bedroom in the house of Pepys' cousin Jane Turner. Pepys' stone was removed and he resolved to hold a celebration on every anniversary of the operation, which he did for several years. However, there were long-term effects from the operation; the incision on his bladder broke open again late in his life. The procedure may have left him sterile, though there is no direct evidence for this, as he was childless before the operation. In mid-1658 Pepys moved near the modern Downing Street, he worked as a teller in the Exchequer under George Downing. On 1 January 1660, Pepys began to keep a diary.
He recorded his daily life for ten years. This record of a decade of Pepys' life is more than a million words long and is regarded as Britain’s most celebrated diary. Pepys has been called the greatest diarist of all time due to his frankness in writing concerning his own weaknesses and the accuracy with which he records events of daily British life and major events in the 17th century. Pepys wrote about the contemporary court and theatre, his household, major political and social occurrences. Historians have been using his diary to gain greater insight and understanding of life in London in the 17th century. Pepys wrote on subjects such as personal finances, the time he got up in the morning, the weather, what he ate, he talked at length about his new watch which he was proud of, a country visitor who did not enjoy his time in London because he felt that it was too crowded, his cat waking him up at one in the morning. Pepys's diary is one of a few sources which provides such length in details of everyday life of an upper-middle-class man during the seventeenth century.
Aside from day-to-day activities, Pepys commented on the significant and turbulent events of his nation. England was in disarray. Oliver Cromwell had died just a few years before, creating a period of civil unrest and a large power vacuum to be filled. Pepys had been a strong supporter of Cromwell, but he converted to the Royalist cause upon the Protector’s death, he was on the ship. He gave a firsthand account of events, such as the coronation of King Charles II and the Restoration of the British Monarchy to the throne, the Anglo-Dutch war, the Great Plague, the Great Fire of London. Pepys did not plan on his contemporaries seeing his diary, evident from the fact that he wrote in shorthand and sometimes in a "code" of various Spanish and Italian words (especially whe
John Fletcher (playwright)
John Fletcher was a Jacobean playwright. Following William Shakespeare as house playwright for the King's Men, he was among the most prolific and influential dramatists of his day. Though his reputation has been far eclipsed since, Fletcher remains an important transitional figure between the Elizabethan popular tradition and the popular drama of the Restoration. Fletcher was born in December 1579 in Rye and died of the plague in August 1625, his father Richard Fletcher was an ambitious and successful cleric, in turn Dean of Peterborough, Bishop of Bristol, Bishop of Worcester and Bishop of London, as well as chaplain to Queen Elizabeth. As Dean of Peterborough, Richard Fletcher, at the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots at Fotheringay. "knelt down on the scaffold steps and started to pray out loud and at length, in a prolonged and rhetorical style as though determined to force his way into the pages of history". He cried out at her death, "So perish all the Queen's enemies!" Richard Fletcher died shortly after falling out of favour with the Queen, over a marriage she had advised against.
He appears to have been rehabilitated before his death in 1596 but he died in debt. The upbringing of John Fletcher and his seven siblings was entrusted to his paternal uncle Giles Fletcher, a poet and minor official, his uncle's connexions ceased to be a benefit and may have become a liability after the rebellion of Robert Devereux the Earl of Essex, his patron. Fletcher appears to have entered Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University in 1591, at the age of eleven, it is not certain that he took a degree but evidence suggests that he was preparing for a career in the church. Little is known about his time at college but he evidently followed the path trodden by the University wits before him, from Cambridge to the burgeoning commercial theatre of London. In 1606, he began to appear as a playwright for the Children of the Queen's Revels performing at the Blackfriars Theatre. Commendatory verses by Richard Brome in the Beaumont and Fletcher 1647 folio place Fletcher in the company of Ben Jonson.
At the beginning of his career, his most important association was with Francis Beaumont. The two wrote together for close on a decade, first for the children and for the King's Men. According to an anecdote transmitted or invented by John Aubrey, they lived together, sharing clothes and having "one wench in the house between them"; this domestic arrangement, if it existed, was ended by Beaumont's marriage in 1613 and their dramatic partnership ended after Beaumont fell ill of a stroke, the same year. By this time, Fletcher had moved into a closer association with the King's Men, he collaborated with Shakespeare on Henry VIII, The Two Noble Kinsmen and the lost Cardenio, the basis for Lewis Theobald's play Double Falsehood. A play he wrote singly around this time, The Woman's Prize or the Tamer Tamed, is a sequel to The Taming of the Shrew. In 1616, after Shakespeare's death, Fletcher appears to have entered into an exclusive arrangement with the King's Men similar to Shakespeare's. Fletcher wrote only for that company between the death of Shakespeare and his death nine years later.
He never lost his habit of collaboration, working with Nathan Field and with Philip Massinger, who succeeded him as house playwright for the King's Men. His popularity continued throughout his life, he died in 1625 of the plague. He seems to have been buried in what is now Southwark Cathedral, although the precise location is not known. What is more certain is that two simple adjacent stones in the floor of the Choir of Southwark Cathedral, one marked'Edmond Shakespeare 1607' the other'John Fletcher 1625' refer to Shakespeare's younger brother and the playwright, his mastery is most notable in two dramatic types and comedy of manners. Fletcher's early career was marked by one significant failure, of The Faithful Shepherdess, his adaptation of Giovanni Battista Guarini's Il Pastor Fido, performed by the Blackfriars Children in 1608. In the preface to the printed edition of his play, Fletcher explained the failure as due to his audience's faulty expectations, they expected a pastoral tragicomedy to feature dances and murder, with the shepherds presented in conventional stereotypes—as Fletcher put it, wearing "gray cloaks, with curtailed dogs in strings".
Fletcher's preface in defence of his play is best known for its pithy definition of tragicomedy: "A tragicomedy is not so called in respect of mirth and killing, but in respect it wants deaths, enough to make it no tragedy. A comedy, he went on to say, must be "a representation of familiar people" and the preface is critical of drama that features characters whose action violates nature. Fletcher appears to have been developing a new style faster. By 1609, however, he had found his voice. With Beaumont, he wrote Philaster, which became a hit for the King's Men and began a profitable connexion between Fletcher and that company. Philaster appears to have initiated a vogue for tragicomedy.