John Fletcher (playwright)

John Fletcher (playwright)

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John Fletcher was a Jacobean
Jacobean era
The Jacobean era refers to the period in English and Scottish history that coincides with the reign of King James VI of Scotland, who also inherited the crown of England in 1603 as James I...

 playwright. Following William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 as house playwright for the King's Men
King's Men (playing company)
The King's Men was the company of actors to which William Shakespeare belonged through most of his career. Formerly known as The Lord Chamberlain's Men during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, it became The King's Men in 1603 when King James ascended the throne and became the company's patron.The...

, he was among the most prolific and influential dramatists of his day; both during his lifetime and in the early Restoration, his fame rivalled Shakespeare's. Though his reputation has been eclipsed since, Fletcher remains an important transitional figure between the Elizabethan popular tradition and the popular drama of the Restoration.

Early life


Fletcher was born in December 1579 (baptised 20 December) in Rye
Rye, East Sussex
Rye is a small town in East Sussex, England, which stands approximately two miles from the open sea and is at the confluence of three rivers: the Rother, the Tillingham and the Brede...

, Sussex, and died of the plague in August 1625 (buried 29 August in St. Saviour's
Southwark Cathedral
Southwark Cathedral or The Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie, Southwark, London, lies on the south bank of the River Thames close to London Bridge....

, Southwark
Southwark
Southwark is a district of south London, England, and the administrative headquarters of the London Borough of Southwark. Situated east of Charing Cross, it forms one of the oldest parts of London and fronts the River Thames to the north...

). His father Richard Fletcher
Richard Fletcher (bishop)
Richard Fletcher was a Church of England priest and bishop. He was successively bishop of Worcester in 1593–1594 and bishop of London in 1595–1596....

 was an ambitious and successful cleric who was in turn Dean of Peterborough, Bishop of Bristol
Bishop of Bristol
The Bishop of Bristol heads the Church of England Diocese of Bristol in the Province of Canterbury, in England.The present diocese covers parts of the counties of Somerset and Gloucestershire together with a small area of Wiltshire...

, Bishop of Worcester
Bishop of Worcester
The Bishop of Worcester is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Worcester in the Province of Canterbury, England. He is the head of the Diocese of Worcester in the Province of Canterbury...

, and Bishop of London
Bishop of London
The Bishop of London is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of London in the Province of Canterbury.The diocese covers 458 km² of 17 boroughs of Greater London north of the River Thames and a small part of the County of Surrey...

 (shortly before his death) as well as chaplain to Queen Elizabeth
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

. As dean of Peterborough, Richard Fletcher, at the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, at Fotheringay
Fotheringhay
Fotheringhay is a village and civil parish in Northamptonshire, England, six kilometres north east of Oundle and around west of Peterborough. It is most noted for being the site of Fotheringhay Castle which was razed in 1627...

 "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 the queen had advised against. He appears to have been partly rehabilitated before his death in 1596; however, he died substantially in debt. The upbringing of John Fletcher and his seven siblings was entrusted to his paternal uncle Giles Fletcher
Giles Fletcher, the Elder
Giles Fletcher, the Elder was an English poet and diplomat, member of the English Parliament.Giles Fletcher was the son of Richard Fletcher, vicar of Bishop's Stortford. He spent his early life at Cranbrook before entering Eton College about 1561...

, a poet and minor official. His uncle's connections ceased to be a benefit, and may even have become a liability, after the rebellion of the Earl of Essex
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, KG was an English nobleman and a favourite of Elizabeth I. Politically ambitious, and a committed general, he was placed under house arrest following a poor campaign in Ireland during the Nine Years' War in 1599...

, who had patronised him.

Fletcher appears to have entered Corpus Christi College
Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Corpus Christi College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. It is notable as the only college founded by Cambridge townspeople: it was established in 1352 by the Guilds of Corpus Christi and the Blessed Virgin Mary...

, 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 same path previously trod by the University wits before him, from Cambridge to the burgeoning commercial theatre of London.

Collaborations with Beaumont


In 1606, he began to appear as an author for the Children of the Queen's Revels
Children of the Chapel
The Children of the Chapel were the boys with unbroken voices, choristers, who formed part of the Chapel Royal, the body of singers and priests serving the spiritual needs of their sovereign wherever they were called upon to do so....

, then performing at the Blackfriars Theatre
Blackfriars Theatre
Blackfriars Theatre was the name of a theatre in the Blackfriars district of the City of London during the Renaissance. The theatre began as a venue for child actors associated with the Queen's chapel choirs; in this function, the theatre hosted some of the most innovative drama of Elizabeth and...

. Commendatory verses by Richard Brome
Richard Brome
Richard Brome was an English dramatist of the Caroline era.-Life:Virtually nothing is known about Brome's private life. Repeated allusions in contemporary works, like Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, indicate that Brome started out as a servant of Jonson, in some capacity...

 in the Beaumont and Fletcher 1647 folio
Book size
The size of a book is generally measured by the height against the width of a leaf, or sometimes the height and width of its cover. A series of terms is commonly used by libraries and publishers for the general sizes of modern books, ranging from "folio" , to "quarto" and "octavo"...

 place Fletcher in the company of Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson
Benjamin Jonson was an English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor. A contemporary of William Shakespeare, he is best known for his satirical plays, particularly Volpone, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair, which are considered his best, and his lyric poems...

; a comment of Jonson's to Drummond corroborates this claim, although it is not known when this friendship began. At the beginning of his career, his most important association was with Francis Beaumont
Francis Beaumont
Francis Beaumont was a dramatist in the English Renaissance theatre, most famous for his collaborations with John Fletcher....

. The two wrote together for close to a decade, first for the children and then for the King's Men. According to a legend transmitted or invented by John Aubrey
John Aubrey
John Aubrey FRS, was an English antiquary, natural philosopher and writer. He is perhaps best known as the author of the collection of short biographical pieces usually referred to as Brief Lives...

, they also lived together (in Bankside
Bankside
Bankside is a district of London, England, and part of the London Borough of Southwark. Bankside is located on the southern bank of the River Thames, east of Charing Cross, running from a little west of Blackfriars Bridge to just a short distance before London Bridge at St Mary Overie Dock to...

), 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, probably of a stroke, the same year.

Successor to Shakespeare


By this time, Fletcher had moved into a closer association with the King's Men. He is commonly assumed to have collaborated with Shakespeare on Henry VIII
Henry VIII (play)
The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight is a history play by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, based on the life of Henry VIII of England. An alternative title, All is True, is recorded in contemporary documents, the title Henry VIII not appearing until the play's publication...

, The Two Noble Kinsmen
The Two Noble Kinsmen
The Two Noble Kinsmen is a Jacobean tragicomedy, first published in 1634 and attributed to John Fletcher and William Shakespeare. Its plot derives from "The Knight's Tale" in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales....

, and the lost
Lost work
A lost work is a document or literary work produced some time in the past of which no surviving copies are known to exist. Works may be lost to history either through the destruction of the original manuscript, or through the non-survival of any copies of the work. Deliberate destruction of works...

 Cardenio
Cardenio
The History of Cardenio, often referred to as merely Cardenio, is a lost play, known to have been performed by The King's Men, a London theatre company, in 1613. It was attributed to William Shakespeare and John Fletcher in a Stationers' Register entry of 1653...

, which is probably (according to modern scholarly consensus) the basis for Lewis Theobald
Lewis Theobald
Lewis Theobald , British textual editor and author, was a landmark figure both in the history of Shakespearean editing and in literary satire...

's play Double Falsehood. A play he wrote singly around this time, The Woman's Prize
The Woman's Prize
The Woman's Prize, or the Tamer Tamed is a Jacobean comedy written by John Fletcher. Its initial publication occurred in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647, though it was obviously written much earlier...

 or the Tamer Tamed, is a sequel to The Taming of the Shrew
The Taming of the Shrew
The Taming of the Shrew is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1590 and 1591.The play begins with a framing device, often referred to as the Induction, in which a mischievous nobleman tricks a drunken tinker named Sly into believing he is actually a nobleman himself...

. In 1616, after Shakespeare's death, Fletcher appears to have entered into an exclusive arrangement with the King's Men similar to that with which Shakespeare had worked; Fletcher wrote only for that company between the death of Shakespeare and his own death nine years later. He never lost his habit of collaboration, working with Nathan Field and later with Philip Massinger
Philip Massinger
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, and their political and social themes.-Early life:The son of Arthur Massinger or Messenger, he was baptized at St....

, who succeeded him as house playwright for the King's Men. His popularity continued unabated throughout his life; during the winter of 1621, three of his plays were performed at court. He died in 1625, apparently of the plague. He seems to have been buried in what is now Southwark Cathedral
Southwark Cathedral
Southwark Cathedral or The Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie, Southwark, London, lies on the south bank of the River Thames close to London Bridge....

, although the precise location is not known; there is a reference by Aston Cockayne
Aston Cockayne
Sir Aston Cockayne, Baronet of Ashbourne was, in his day, a well-known Cavalier and a minor literary figure, now best remembered as a friend of Philip Massinger, John Fletcher, Michael Drayton, Richard Brome, Thomas Randolph, and other writers of his generation.-Biography:Aston Cockayne was the...

 to a single grave for Fletcher and Massinger (also buried in Southwark).

His mastery is most notable in two dramatic types, tragicomedy
Tragicomedy
Tragicomedy is fictional work that blends aspects of the genres of tragedy and comedy. In English literature, from Shakespeare's time to the nineteenth century, tragicomedy referred to a serious play with either a happy ending or enough jokes throughout the play to lighten the mood.-Classical...

 and comedy of manners
Comedy of manners
The comedy of manners is a genre of play/television/film which satirizes the manners and affectations of a social class, often represented by stock characters, such as the miles gloriosus in ancient times, the fop and the rake during the Restoration, or an old person pretending to be young...

, both of which exerted a pervasive influence on dramatists in the reign of Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 and during the Restoration
English Restoration
The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

.

Stage history



Fletcher's early career was marked by one significant failure, of The Faithful Shepherdess, his adaptation of Giovanni Battista Guarini
Giovanni Battista Guarini
Giovanni Battista Guarini was an Italian poet, dramatist, and diplomat.- Life :He was born in Ferrara, and spent his early life both in Padua and Ferrara, entering the service of Alfonso II d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, in 1567...

's Il Pastor Fido
Il pastor fido
Il pastor fido is an opera in three acts by George Frideric Handel. It was set to a libretto by Giacomo Rossi based on the famed and widely familiar pastoral poem of the same name by Giovanni Battista Guarini.-Performance history:...

, which was performed by the Blackfriars Children
Children of the Chapel
The Children of the Chapel were the boys with unbroken voices, choristers, who formed part of the Chapel Royal, the body of singers and priests serving the spiritual needs of their sovereign wherever they were called upon to do so....

 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, comedy, 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 [i.e., lacks] deaths, which is enough to make it no tragedy; yet brings some near it, which is enough to make it no comedy." A comedy, he went on to say, must be "a representation of familiar people," and the preface is critical of drama which would feature characters whose action violates nature.

In that case, Fletcher appears to have been developing a new style faster than audiences could comprehend. By 1609, however, he had found his stride. With Beaumont, he wrote Philaster, which became a hit for the King's Men and began a profitable connection between Fletcher and that company. Philaster appears also to have initiated a vogue for tragicomedy; Fletcher's influence has been credited with inspiring some features of Shakespeare's late romances
Shakespeare's late romances
The late romances, often simply called the romances, are a grouping of what many scholars believe to be William Shakespeare's later plays, including Pericles, Prince of Tyre; Cymbeline; The Winter's Tale; and The Tempest. The Two Noble Kinsmen is sometimes included in this grouping...

 (Kirsch, 288-90), and his influence on the tragicomic work of other playwrights is even more marked. By the middle of the 1610s, Fletcher's plays had achieved a popularity that rivalled Shakespeare's and which cemented the preeminence of the King's Men in Jacobean London. After Beaumont's retirement and early death in 1616, Fletcher continued working, both singly and in collaboration, until his death in 1625. By that time, he had produced, or had been credited with, close to fifty plays. This body of work remained a major part of the King's Men's repertory until the closing of the theatres in 1642.

During the Commonwealth
Commonwealth of England
The Commonwealth of England was the republic which ruled first England, and then Ireland and Scotland from 1649 to 1660. Between 1653–1659 it was known as the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland...

, many of the playwright's best-known scenes were kept alive as droll
Droll
A droll is a short comical sketch of a type that originated during the Puritan Interregnum in England. With the closure of the theatres, actors were left without any way of plying their art. Borrowing scenes from well-known plays of the Elizabethan theatre, they added dancing and other...

s, the brief performances devised to satisfy the taste for plays while the theatres were suppressed. At the re-opening of the theatres in 1660, the plays in the Fletcher canon, in original form or revised, were by far the most common fare on the English stage. The most frequently revived plays suggest the developing taste for comedies of manners. Among the tragedies, The Maid's Tragedy
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 was one of the earliest works in the canon of Fletcher and his collaborators that was acted by the King's Men; Fletcher would spend most of his career as that company's regular playwright...

 and, especially, Rollo Duke of Normandy
Rollo Duke of Normandy
Rollo Duke of Normandy, also known as The Bloody Brother, is a play written in collaboration by John Fletcher, Philip Massinger, Ben Jonson, and George Chapman. Scholars have disputed almost everything about the play; but it was probably written sometime in the 1612–24 era and later revised,...

 held the stage. Four tragicomedies (A King and No King, The Humorous Lieutenant
The Humorous Lieutenant
The Humorous Lieutenant, also known as The Noble Enemies or Demetrius and Enanthe, is a Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy written by John Fletcher...

, Philaster, and The Island Princess
The Island Princess
The Island Princess is a late Jacobean tragicomedy by John Fletcher, initially published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.-The play:...

) were popular, perhaps in part for their similarity to and foreshadowing of heroic drama. Four comedies (Rule a Wife And Have a Wife, The Chances, Beggars' Bush
Beggars' Bush
For the old military barracks in Dublin, Ireland, see Beggars BushBeggars' Bush is a Jacobean era stage play, a comedy in the canon of John Fletcher and his collaborators that is a focus of dispute among scholars and critics.-Authorship and Date:...

, and especially The Scornful Lady) were also popular.

Yet the popularity of these plays relative to those of Shakespeare and to new productions steadily eroded. By around 1710, Shakespeare's plays were more frequently performed, and the rest of the century saw a steady erosion in performance of Fletcher's plays. By 1784, Thomas Davies
Thomas Davies (bookseller)
Thomas Davies was a Scottish bookseller and author. He studied at the University of Edinburgh and was for several years on the Stage; but having been ridiculed by Churchill in The Rosciad he gave up acting and opened a bookshop in Covent Garden. It was here that in 1763 he introduced Boswell to Dr...

 asserted that only Rule a Wife and The Chances were still current on stage; a generation later, Alexander Dyce
Alexander Dyce
Alexander Dyce was a Scottish dramatic editor and literary historian.He was born in Edinburgh and received his early education at the high school there, before becoming a student at Exeter College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. in 1819...

 mentioned only The Chances.

Since then Fletcher has increasingly become a subject only for occasional revivals and for specialists. Fletcher and his collaborators have been the subject of important bibliographic and critical studies, but the plays have been revived only infrequently.

Plays


Fletcher's canon presents unusual difficulties of attribution. He collaborated regularly and widely, most often with Beaumont and Massinger but also with Nathan Field, Shakespeare and others. Some of his early collaborations with Beaumont were later revised by Massinger, adding another layer of complexity to unravel. Fortunately for scholars and students of English literature, Fletcher also had highly distinctive mannerisms in his creative efforts; his texts reveal a range of peculiarities that effectively identify his presence. He frequently uses ye instead of you, at rates sometimes approaching 50%; he frequently employs em for them, along with a set of other particular preferences in contractions; he adds a sixth stressed syllable to a standard pentameter verse line—most often sir but also too or still or next; he has various other specific habits and preferences. The detection of this pattern, this personal Fletcherian textual profile, has allowed researchers to penetrate the confusions of the Fletcher canon with good success—and has in turn encouraged the use of similar techniques more broadly in the study of literature. [See: stylometry
Stylometry
Stylometry is the application of the study of linguistic style, usually to written language, but it has successfully been applied to music and to fine-art paintings as well.Stylometry is often used to attribute authorship to anonymous or disputed documents...

.]

Careful bibliography has established the authors of each play with some degree of certainty. Determination of the exact shares of each writer (for instance by Cyrus Hoy
Cyrus Hoy
Cyrus Hoy was a literary scholar of the English Renaissance stage who taught at the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University, and was the John B. Trevor Professor of English at the University of Rochester...

) in particular plays is ongoing, based on patterns of textual and linguistic preferences, stylistic grounds, and idiosyncrasies of spelling.

The list that follows gives a consensus verdict (at least a tentative one) on the authorship of the plays in Fletcher's canon, with likeliest dates of authorship, dates of first publication, and dates of licensing by the Master of the Revels
Master of the Revels
The Master of the Revels was a position within the English, and later the British, royal household heading the "Revels Office" or "Office of the Revels" that originally had responsibilities for overseeing royal festivities, known as revels, and later also became responsible for stage censorship,...

, where available.

Solo Plays

  • The Faithful Shepherdess
    The Faithful Shepherdess
    The Faithful Shepherdess is a Jacobean era stage play, the work that inaugurated the playwriting career of John Fletcher. Though the initial production was a failure with its audience, the printed text that followed proved significant, in that it contained Fletcher's influential definition of...

    , pastoral (written 1608–9; printed 1609?)
  • Valentinian
    Valentinian (play)
    Valentinian is a Jacobean era stage play, a revenge tragedy written by John Fletcher was that originally published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647. The play dramatizes the story of Valentinian III, one of the last of the Roman Emperors, as recorded by the classical historian...

    , tragedy (1610–14; 1647)
  • Monsieur Thomas
    Monsieur Thomas
    Monsieur Thomas is a Jacobean era stage play, a comedy written by John Fletcher that was first published in 1639.-Date and Source:Scholars date the play to the 1610–16 period. Fletcher's source for the play's plot was the second part of the novel Astrée by Honoré d'Urfé, which was first...

    , comedy (c. 1610–16; 1639)
  • The Woman's Prize
    The Woman's Prize
    The Woman's Prize, or the Tamer Tamed is a Jacobean comedy written by John Fletcher. Its initial publication occurred in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647, though it was obviously written much earlier...

    , or The Tamer Tamed, comedy (c. 1611?; 1647)
  • Bonduca
    Bonduca
    Bonduca is a Jacobean tragi-comedy in the Beaumont and Fletcher canon, generally judged by scholars to be the work of John Fletcher alone. It was acted by the King's Men c. 1613, and published in 1647 in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio....

    , tragedy (1611–14; 1647)
  • The Chances
    The Chances
    The Chances is a Jacobean era stage play, a comedy written by John Fletcher. It was one of Fletcher's great popular successes, "frequently performed and reprinted in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries."...

    , comedy (c. 1613–25; 1647)
  • Wit Without Money
    Wit Without Money
    Wit Without Money is a Jacobean era stage play, a comedy written by John Fletcher, and first published in 1639.-Date and authorship:Scholars have dated the play to c. 1614, based on allusions to contemporary events — notably to the dragon that was reportedly seen in Sussex in August 1614...

    , comedy (c. 1614; 1639)
  • The Mad Lover
    The Mad Lover
    The Mad Lover is a Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy by John Fletcher that was initially published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647....

    , tragicomedy (acted 5 January 1617; 1647)
  • The Loyal Subject
    The Loyal Subject
    The Loyal Subject is a Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy by John Fletcher that was originally published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.-Performance:...

    , tragicomedy (licensed 16 November 1618; revised 1633?; 1647)
  • The Humorous Lieutenant
    The Humorous Lieutenant
    The Humorous Lieutenant, also known as The Noble Enemies or Demetrius and Enanthe, is a Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy written by John Fletcher...

    , tragicomedy (c. 1619; 1647)
  • Women Pleased
    Women Pleased
    Women Pleased is a late Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy by John Fletcher that was originally published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.-Date and performance:...

    , tragicomedy (c. 1619–23; 1647)
  • The Island Princess
    The Island Princess
    The Island Princess is a late Jacobean tragicomedy by John Fletcher, initially published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.-The play:...

    , tragicomedy (c. 1620; 1647)
  • The Wild Goose Chase
    The Wild Goose Chase
    The Wild Goose Chase is a late Jacobean stage play, a comedy written by John Fletcher, first published in 1621. It is often classed among Fletcher's most effective and best-constructed plays; Edmund Gosse called it "one of the brightest and most coherent of Fletcher's comedies, a play which it is...

    , comedy (c. 1621; 1652)
  • The Pilgrim
    The Pilgrim (play)
    The Pilgrim is a late Jacobean era stage play, a comedy by John Fletcher that was originally published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.The play was acted by the King's Men; they performed it at Court in 1621 Christmas season...

    , comedy (c. 1621; 1647)
  • A Wife for a Month
    A Wife for a Month
    A Wife for a Month is a late Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy written by John Fletcher and originally published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647....

    , tragicomedy (licensed 27 May 1624; 1647)
  • Rule a Wife and Have a Wife
    Rule a Wife and Have a Wife
    Rule a Wife and Have a Wife is a late Jacobean stage play, a comedy written by John Fletcher. It was first performed in 1624 and first published in 1640....

    , comedy (licensed 19 October 1624; 1640)

Collaborations



With Francis Beaumont:
  • The Woman Hater
    The Woman Hater
    The Woman Hater is an early Jacobean era stage play, a comedy by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. One of the earliest of their collaborations, it was the first of their plays to appear in print, in 1607.-Date and publication:...

    , comedy (1606; 1607)
  • Cupid's Revenge
    Cupid's Revenge
    Cupid's Revenge is a Jacobean tragedy written by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. It was a popular success that influenced subsequent works by other authors.-Date and performance:...

    , tragedy (c. 1607–12; 1615)
  • Philaster, or Love Lies a-Bleeding
    Philaster (play)
    Philaster, or Love Lies a-Bleeding is an early Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy written by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. One of the duo's earliest successes, the play helped to establish the trend for tragicomedy that was a powerful influence in early Stuart era drama.-Date and...

    , tragicomedy
    Tragicomedy
    Tragicomedy is fictional work that blends aspects of the genres of tragedy and comedy. In English literature, from Shakespeare's time to the nineteenth century, tragicomedy referred to a serious play with either a happy ending or enough jokes throughout the play to lighten the mood.-Classical...

     (c. 1609; 1620)
  • The Maid's Tragedy
    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 was one of the earliest works in the canon of Fletcher and his collaborators that was acted by the King's Men; Fletcher would spend most of his career as that company's regular playwright...

    , Tragedy (c. 1609; 1619)
  • A King and No King
    A King and No King
    A King and No King is a Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy written by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher and first published in 1619. It has traditionally been among the most highly-praised and popular works in the canon of Fletcher and his collaborators.The play's title became almost...

    , tragicomedy (1611; 1619)
  • The Captain
    The Captain (play)
    The Captain is the title of a Jacobean era stage play, a comedy written by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. It was originally published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.-Performance and publication:...

    , comedy (c. 1609–12; 1647)
  • The Scornful Lady
    The Scornful Lady
    The Scornful Lady is a Jacobean era stage play, a comedy written by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, and first published in 1616, the year of Beaumont's death...

    , comedy (c. 1613; 1616)
  • Love's Pilgrimage
    Love's Pilgrimage (play)
    Love's Pilgrimage is a Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. The play is unusual in their canon, in that its opening scene contains material from Ben Jonson's 1629 comedy The New Inn.-The problem:...

    , tragicomedy (c. 1615–16; 1647)
  • The Noble Gentleman
    The Noble Gentleman
    The Noble Gentleman is a Jacobean era stage play, a comedy in the canon of John Fletcher and his collaborators that was first published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647...

    , comedy (c. 1613?; licensed 3 February 1626; 1647)


With Beaumont and Massinger:
  • Thierry and Theodoret
    Thierry and Theodoret
    Thierry and Theodoret is a Jacobean era stage play, a tragedy in the canon of John Fletcher and his collaborators that was first published in 1621...

    , tragedy (c. 1607?; 1621)
  • The Coxcomb
    The Coxcomb
    The Coxcomb is an early Jacobean era stage play, a comedy written by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. It was initially published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.-Date and performance:...

    , comedy (c. 1608–10; 1647)
  • Beggars' Bush
    Beggars' Bush
    For the old military barracks in Dublin, Ireland, see Beggars BushBeggars' Bush is a Jacobean era stage play, a comedy in the canon of John Fletcher and his collaborators that is a focus of dispute among scholars and critics.-Authorship and Date:...

    , comedy (c. 1612–13? revised 1622?; 1647)
  • Love's Cure
    Love's Cure
    Love's Cure, or The Martial Maid is an early seventeenth-century stage play, a comedy in the canon of John Fletcher and his collaborators. First published in the Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647, it is the subject of broad dispute and uncertainty among scholars...

    , comedy (c. 1612–13?; revised 1625?; 1647)


With Massinger:
  • Sir John van Olden Barnavelt
    Sir John van Olden Barnavelt
    The Tragedy of Sir John van Olden Barnavelt was a Jacobean play written by John Fletcher and Philip Massinger in 1619, and produced in the same year by the King's Men at the Globe Theatre...

    , tragedy (August 1619; MS)
  • The Little French Lawyer
    The Little French Lawyer
    The Little French Lawyer is a Jacobean era stage play, a comedy written by John Fletcher and Philip Massinger. It was initially published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.-Date:...

    , comedy (c. 1619–23; 1647)
  • A Very Woman
    A Very Woman
    A Very Woman, or The Prince of Tarent is an early seventeenth-century stage play, a tragicomedy written by Philip Massinger and John Fletcher...

    , tragicomedy (c. 1619–22; licensed 6 June 1634; 1655)
  • The Custom of the Country
    The Custom of the Country (1647 play)
    The Custom of the Country is a Jacobean stage play, a tragicomedy written by John Fletcher and Philip Massinger, originally published in 1647 in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio.-Date and sources:The play is usually dated to c. 1619–23...

    , comedy (c. 1619–23; 1647)
  • The Double Marriage
    The Double Marriage
    The Double Marriage is a Jacobean era stage play, a tragedy written by John Fletcher and Philip Massinger, and initially printed in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.-Date and performance:...

    , tragedy (c. 1619–23; 1647)
  • The False One
    The False One
    The False One is a late Jacobean era stage play, written by John Fletcher and Philip Massinger. Generally categorized as a "classical history," the play tells part of the story of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra....

    , history (c. 1619–23; 1647)
  • The Prophetess
    The Prophetess (play)
    The Prophetess is a late Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy written by John Fletcher and Philip Massinger. It was initially published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.-Date and performance:...

    , tragicomedy (licensed 14 May 1622; 1647)
  • The Sea Voyage
    The Sea Voyage
    The Sea Voyage is a late Jacobean comedy written by John Fletcher and Philip Massinger. The play is notable for its imitation of Shakespeare's The Tempest.-Performance and publication:...

    , comedy (licensed 22 June 1622; 1647)
  • The Spanish Curate
    The Spanish Curate
    The Spanish Curate is a late Jacobean era stage play, a comedy written by John Fletcher and Philip Massinger. It premiered on the stage in 1622, and was first published in 1647.-Date and source:...

    , comedy (licensed 24 October 1622; 1647)
  • The Lovers' Progress
    The Lovers' Progress
    The Lovers' Progress, also known as The Wandering Lovers, or Cleander, or Lisander and Calista, is an early seventeenth-century stage play, a tragicomedy written by John Fletcher and Philip Massinger...

     or The Wandering Lovers, tragicomedy (licensed 6 December 1623; revised 1634; 1647)
  • The Elder Brother
    The Elder Brother
    The Elder Brother is an early seventeenth-century stage play, a comedy written by John Fletcher and Philip Massinger. Apparently dating from 1625, it may have been the last play Fletcher worked on before his August 1625 death.-Date:...

    , comedy (c. 1625; 1637)


With Massinger and Field:
  • The Honest Man's Fortune
    The Honest Man's Fortune
    The Honest Man's Fortune is a Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy written by Nathan Field, John Fletcher, and Philip Massinger. It was apparently the earliest of the works produced by this trio of writers, the others being The Queen of Corinth and The Knight of Malta.-Texts:The Honest Man's...

    , tragicomedy (1613; 1647)
  • The Queen of Corinth
    The Queen of Corinth
    The Queen of Corinth is a Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy in the canon of John Fletcher and his collaborators. It was initially published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.-Date:...

    , tragicomedy (c. 1616–18; 1647)
  • The Knight of Malta
    The Knight of Malta
    The Knight of Malta is a Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy in the canon of John Fletcher and his collaborators. It was initially published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.-Date and source:...

    , tragicomedy (c. 1619; 1647)


With Shakespeare:
  • Henry VIII
    Henry VIII (play)
    The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight is a history play by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, based on the life of Henry VIII of England. An alternative title, All is True, is recorded in contemporary documents, the title Henry VIII not appearing until the play's publication...

    , history (c. 1613; 1623)
  • The Two Noble Kinsmen
    The Two Noble Kinsmen
    The Two Noble Kinsmen is a Jacobean tragicomedy, first published in 1634 and attributed to John Fletcher and William Shakespeare. Its plot derives from "The Knight's Tale" in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales....

    , tragicomedy (c. 1613; 1634)
  • Cardenio
    Cardenio
    The History of Cardenio, often referred to as merely Cardenio, is a lost play, known to have been performed by The King's Men, a London theatre company, in 1613. It was attributed to William Shakespeare and John Fletcher in a Stationers' Register entry of 1653...

    , tragicomedy? (c. 1613)


With Middleton and Rowley:
  • Wit at Several Weapons
    Wit at Several Weapons
    Wit at Several Weapons is a seventeenth-century comedy of problematic date and authorship.-Authorship and Date:In its own century, the play appeared in print only in the two Beaumont and Fletcher folios of 1647 and 1679; yet modern scholarship has determined that the Wit at Several Weapons is a...

    , comedy (c. 1610–20; 1647)


With Rowley:
  • The Maid in the Mill
    The Maid in the Mill
    The Maid in the Mill is a late Jacobean era stage play, a comedy written by John Fletcher and William Rowley. It was initially published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.-Performance:...

     (licensed 29 August 1623; 1647).


With Field:
  • Four Plays, or Moral Representations, in One
    Four Plays in One
    Four Plays, or Moral Representations, in One is a Jacobean era stage play, one of the dramatic works in the canon of John Fletcher and his collaborators...

    , morality (c. 1608–13; 1647)


With Massinger, Jonson, and Chapman:
  • Rollo Duke of Normandy
    Rollo Duke of Normandy
    Rollo Duke of Normandy, also known as The Bloody Brother, is a play written in collaboration by John Fletcher, Philip Massinger, Ben Jonson, and George Chapman. Scholars have disputed almost everything about the play; but it was probably written sometime in the 1612–24 era and later revised,...

    , or The Bloody Brother, tragedy (c. 1617; revised 1627–30?; 1639)


With Shirley:
  • The Night Walker
    The Night Walker
    The Night Walker, or The Little Thief is an early seventeenth-century stage play, a comedy written by John Fletcher and later revised by his younger contemporary James Shirley. It was first published in 1640.-Authorship:...

    , or The Little Thief, comedy (c. 1611; 1640)


Uncertain:
  • The Nice Valour
    The Nice Valour
    The Nice Valour, or The Passionate Madman is a Jacobean stage play of problematic date and authorship. Based on its inclusion in the two Beaumont and Fletcher folios of 1647 and 1679 and two citations in 17th-century sources, the play has long held a place in the canon of John Fletcher and his...

    , or The Passionate Madman, comedy (c. 1615–25; 1647)
  • The Laws of Candy
    The Laws of Candy
    The Laws of Candy is a Jacobean stage play, a tragicomedy that is significant principally because of the question of its authorship.-Date:...

    , tragicomedy (c. 1619–23; 1647)
  • The Fair Maid of the Inn
    The Fair Maid of the Inn
    The Fair Maid of the Inn is an early 17th-century stage play, a comedy in the canon of John Fletcher and his collaborators. It was originally published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647...

    , comedy (licensed 22 January 1626; 1647)
  • The Faithful Friends
    The Faithful Friends
    The Faithful Friends is an early seventeenth-century stage play, a tragicomedy associated with the canon of John Fletcher and his collaborators...

    , tragicomedy (registered 29 June 1660; MS.)


The Nice Valour may be a play by Fletcher revised by Thomas Middleton
Thomas Middleton
Thomas Middleton was an English Jacobean playwright and poet. Middleton stands with John Fletcher and Ben Jonson as among the most successful and prolific of playwrights who wrote their best plays during the Jacobean period. He was one of the few Renaissance dramatists to achieve equal success in...

; The Fair Maid of the Inn is perhaps a play by Massinger, John Ford
John Ford (dramatist)
John Ford was an English Jacobean and Caroline playwright and poet born in Ilsington in Devon in 1586.-Life and work:...

, and John Webster
John Webster
John Webster was an English Jacobean dramatist best known for his tragedies The White Devil and The Duchess of Malfi, which are often regarded as masterpieces of the early 17th-century English stage. He was a contemporary of William Shakespeare.- Biography :Webster's life is obscure, and the dates...

, either with or without Fletcher's involvement. The Laws of Candy has been variously attributed to Fletcher and to John Ford. The Night-Walker was a Fletcher original, with additions by Shirley for a 1639 production. And some of the attributions given above are disputed by some scholars, as noted in connection with Four Plays in One. Rollo Duke of Normandy, an especially difficult case and a focus of much disagreement among scholars, may have been written around 1617, and later revised by Massinger.

The first Beaumont and Fletcher folio
Beaumont and Fletcher folios
The Beaumont and Fletcher folios were two large folio collections of the stage plays of John Fletcher and his collaborators. The first was issued in 1647, and the second in 1679. The two collections were important in preserving many works of English Renaissance drama.-The first folio, 1647:The 1647...

 of 1647 collected 35 plays, most of which that had not been previously published. The second folio of 1679 added 18 more, for a total of 53. The first folio included The Masque of the Inner Temple and Gray's Inn
The Masque of the Inner Temple and Gray's Inn
The Masque of the Inner Temple and Gray's Inn was a Jacobean era masque, written by Francis Beaumont. It was performed on 20 February 1613 in the Banqueting House at Whitehall Palace, as part of the elaborate wedding festivities surrounding the marriage of Princess Elizabeth, the daughter of King...

 (1613), and the second The Knight of the Burning Pestle (1607), widely considered to be Beaumont's solo works.

One play in the canon, Sir John Van Olden Barnavelt, existed in manuscript and was not published till 1883. In 1640 James Shirley's The Coronation
The Coronation
The Coronation is the title of*a 1630s play, The Coronation *a 2000 novel, The Coronation...

 was misattributed to Fletcher upon its initial publication, and was included in the second Beaumont and Fletcher folio
Beaumont and Fletcher folios
The Beaumont and Fletcher folios were two large folio collections of the stage plays of John Fletcher and his collaborators. The first was issued in 1647, and the second in 1679. The two collections were important in preserving many works of English Renaissance drama.-The first folio, 1647:The 1647...

 of 1679.

External links