THE title of this book needs perhaps justification: it will be at least explained in Chapter I. A substantial part of what is here presented was first written as a series of lectures given at the Shakespeare Summer School of the University of Birmingham, held at the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon, in 1958; other sections were read as contributions to the Fourth Triennial Conference of the International Association of University Professors of English held at Lausanne1 and to the Ninth International Shakespeare Conference held at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1959. I am considerably indebted to those who heard the original lectures and papers and who gave me the benefit of their criticism and advice. Each section has been revised and expanded, but traces of writing intended for oral delivery doubtless remain.
One of the difficulties in commenting on Beaumont and Fletcher is that there is no edition entirely suitable for reference and quotation. The standard edition by Arnold Glover and A. R. Waller ( 10 volumes, Cambridge, 1905- 1912) reproduces the text of the Second Folio of 1679: its fidelity to copy involves the preservation of obvious error, including much mislineation. Moreover, it divides into scenes only when the Folio gives authority for this, and it has no line-numbering. I have modernised the spelling of Glover and Waller, have modified the punctuation where it might cause obscurity, have silently emended lineation, have disregarded the use of italic type in the dialogue, and have referred to the volume and page of their edition for____________________