A History of English Dramatic Literature to the Death of Queen Anne - Vol. 3

A History of English Dramatic Literature to the Death of Queen Anne - Vol. 3

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A History of English Dramatic Literature to the Death of Queen Anne - Vol. 3

A History of English Dramatic Literature to the Death of Queen Anne - Vol. 3

Read FREE!

Excerpt

THE END OF THE OLD DRAMA.

Having in the previous Chapter spoken of Beaumont and Fletcher, I propose in the present to notice more briefly those other dramatic authors of mark whose earliest extant plays appeared after the death of Elisabeth, and whose activity as dramatists falls wholly, like theirs, or at all events in the main, within the period terminated by the outbreak of the Civil War. And the peculiarly intimate connexion between Fletcher and Massinger seems to render it imperative to give to the latter the first place among the writers discussed in this Chapter, although his can hardly be asserted to be the most commanding genius among them.

Yet among the secondary stars of the Elisabethan drama it may be questioned whether any has received a wider, and on the whole a more kindly, recognition than PHILIP MASSINGER. A sufficient proportion of the numerous plays of which he was sole author has been preserved to enable later generations to form a reasonably complete estimate of his gifts and powers; and his participation in the writing of a considerable number of further dramatic works has been established with practical certainty. Inasmuch as the plays which we owe to his unassisted hand have long since been competently edited, he has become the subject of a more exhaustive and appreciative criticism than has fallen to the lot of most of his contemporaries of a rank beneath the first, more especially since his relations to the political movements of his times have been placed in clearer relief.

Philip Massinger ( 1583- 1640).

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