Read The Knight of the Burning Pestle by Francis Beaumont Free Online
Book Title: The Knight of the Burning Pestle|
The author of the book: Francis Beaumont
Date of issue: April 1st 2002
ISBN 13: 9781854596246
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 953 KB
Edition: Nick Hern Books
Read full description of the books The Knight of the Burning Pestle:I have little idea what to say about this play... I've seen it twice now at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (the indoor theatre at Shakespeare's Globe in London) and it is the most hilarious thing ever. I think it might be my favourite theatrical experience - certainly it is the funniest play I've seen, and very very clever, too.
That it was originally written 400 years ago just boggles my mind. 'Early-modern post-modern' I dubbed it, and my sis approved.
I enjoyed reading the play, and there's certainly plenty of good things on the page. But I think its brilliance is in the scope it allows for a humdinger of a performance. I guess that is true for most plays: they are written to be performed rather than read. (And it's not just me who loves it. Timothy Spall played the part of Rafe some years ago, and named his even more brilliant son after the role.) If you ever get the chance to see this on the stage, please do yourself the proverbial favour.
Francis Beaumont, I do ♥ you truly.
17 June: OK, so I can't work out how to review multiple editions, despite consulting GR's 'Help'.
I originally read the Nick Hern Books edition edited by Colin Counsell (9781854596246).
I've also now read the Bloomsbury edition edited by Michael Hattaway (9780713650693) which is terrific for providing more substance in the intro and notes. Currently my preferred edition.
10 July 2016: And I've now read the Revels Plays edition, edited by Sheldon P Zitner (9780719069673).
This is The One, folks! Absolutely wonderful and very thorough Introduction, which made me feel I was finally getting a grasp on the fact that the play didn't quite appear out of nowhere. Also, very useful appendices on the play's Interludes and Songs. If you need to choose just one edition, this is the one I'd recommend.
Read information about the authorFrancis Beaumont (1584 – 6 March 1616) was a dramatist in the English Renaissance theatre, most famous for his collaborations with John Fletcher.
Beaumont was the son of Sir Francis Beaumont of Grace Dieu, near Thringstone in Leicestershire, a justice of the common pleas. He was born at the family seat and was educated at Broadgates Hall (now Pembroke College, Oxford) at age thirteen. Following the death of his father in 1598, he left university without a degree and followed in his father's footsteps by entering the Inner Temple in London in 1600.
Accounts suggest that Beaumont did not work long as a lawyer. He became a student of poet and playwright Ben Jonson; he was also acquainted with Michael Drayton and other poets and dramatists, and decided that was where his passion lay. His first work, Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, appeared in 1602. The 1911 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica describes the work as "not on the whole discreditable to a lad of eighteen, fresh from the popular love-poems of Marlowe and Shakespeare, which it naturally exceeds in long-winded and fantastic diffusion of episodes and conceits." In 1605, Beaumont wrote commendatory verses to Jonson's Volpone.
Beaumont's collaboration with Fletcher may have begun as early as 1605. They had both hit an obstacle early in their dramatic careers with notable failures; Beaumont's The Knight of the Burning Pestle, first performed by the Children of the Blackfriars in 1607, was rejected by an audience who, the publisher's epistle to the 1613 quarto claims, failed to note "the privie mark of irony about it;" that is, they took Beaumont's satire of old-fashioned drama as an old-fashioned drama. The play received a lukewarm reception. The following year, Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess failed on the same stage. In 1609, however, the two collaborated on Philaster, which was performed by the King's Men at the Globe Theatre and at Blackfriars. The play was a popular success, not only launching the careers of the two playwrights but also sparking a new taste for tragicomedy. According to a mid-century anecdote related by John Aubrey, they lived in the same house on the Bankside in Southwark, "sharing everything in the closest intimacy." About 1613 Beaumont married Ursula Isley, daughter and co-heiress of Henry Isley of Sundridge in Kent, by whom he had two daughters, one posthumous. He had a stroke between February and October 1613, after which he wrote no more plays, but was able to write an elegy for Lady Penelope Clifton, who died 26 October 1613. Beaumont died in 1616 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Although today Beaumont is remembered as a dramatist, during his lifetime he was also celebrated as a poet.
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