The Taming of the Tamer
The Voice of the Dramaturg: Artist, Adaptor, or Scholar?
Creating an Acting Version and an Annotated Edition
of John Fletcher's The Taming of the Tamer)
(Presented by Alex Gross during the scholarly
sessions of the LMDA Conference in Atlanta,1994)
Lovers of the Elizabethan theater have long been embarrassed by The Taming of the Shrew. Even before the most recent wave of feminism, many relatively conservative play-goers have been startled and shocked by the unbridled male chauvinism and contempt for women it expresses, frequently in the most direct and physical terms. Apologists for the play have tried to minimize the play's importance in Shakespeare's work, assigning it an early date in the poet's development and dismissing it as a burden one must bear for the later, greater works. It is sometimes noted parenthetically, as a form of further apology, that the play must have been written as a "crowd-pleaser" to satisfy the low taste of at least some Elizabethan audiences. (Shakespeare/Heilman 1966, xxx ff)
It will certainly come as a surpriseand for many a relief as wellto note that the play was regarded in precisely the same light by many of Shakespeare's contemporaries. The proof can be found in this remarkable comedy, The Taming of the Tamer, produced during Shakespeare's lifetime and written by his only acknowledged collaborator, John Fletcher, who also succeeded him as the chief dramatist for the King's Men players. The play is in every sense a sequel to The Taming of the Shrew and can also be regarded as a satire, a burlesque, and a tour de force that takes the earlier play into some remarkable philosophical and feminist territory. That it was also a successful stage play in its own era (and for some time thereafter) and even held the boards against the Shakespearean work on successive nights provides yet further proof of the play's inherent qualities.
Some Basic Facts
Within the swamplike morass of claims and counterclaims constituting Shakespearean scholarship, five important truths about this play stand out in relative clarity and have been accepted by most scholars over several hundred years:
First, this play is the work of John Fletcher, Shakespeare's younger contemporary, also known for his work with him as collaborator on two jointly-authored plays, Two Noble Kinsmen and Henry VIII. A third lost play, Cardenio, was also authored by Shakespeare and Fletcher together.
Second, although accepted dates for this play's composition and first performance vary, observers are virtually unanimous that both events occurred during Shakespeare's own lifetime. Some have proposed 1603 or 1604 as the date, others have opted for 1611, the latter date being five years before Shakespeare's death. During this seven- or eight-year period there is evidence that the play went through two or more versions under two or perhaps three titles, a process which has left many traces in the text but has not made a final date any easier to establish.
Thirdly, The Taming of the Tamer was most definitely intended as a sequel to The Taming of the Shrew, even in part a burlesque or satire, and its many parallels with the earlier play have been readily understood as such by most critics and producers until quite recently. (Parrott and Ball 1943, 188)
Fourthly, this play may well have been presented on a double bill with The Taming of the Shrewor at least produced on close to the same dates at neighboring theaterson one or more occasions during Shakespeare's lifetime. Clear evidence of such a joint production exists for the year 1633, eight years after Fletcher's death, seventeen years after Shakespeare's passing. At that time it is recorded that the Fletcher play was preferred to that of his mentor. (Parrott & Ball 1943, 188)
And finally, one major contender among the three titles is certain to have been The Taming of the Tamer. Unfortunately, at some pointpossibly as late as 1641the play was saddled with the unpromising name of The Woman's Prize, along with the equally weak subtitle The Tamer Tam'd, and it is under these headings that the play was finally published in 1647 as a part of the First Folio and again in 1679 as part of the Second Folio. From that time on it would comprise but one out of fifty-odd works in multi-volume editions of "Beaumont and Fletcher." Here again the play was in a very real sense buried.
A Summary of the Play
The direct link to The Taming of the Shrew is immediately recognizable not only from the title but from the joint presence in both works of three characters: Petruchio, Tranio, and Bianca. I have included in the handout a table showing the many parallels between the characters in the two plays. As the play opens, we learn that Kate has died, probably in childbirth, although the reason is not given, and that Petruchio has just remarried. His new wife Maria resolves not to submit to Petruchio's tyranny which, as we learn, continued long after the supposed happy ending of The Taming of the Shrew. In our play she joins a group of forthright advocates of a feminist creed, including Bianca (Kate's sister) and her own sister Livia.
The women fortify themselves inside their house and hurl chamber pots at Petruchio and his friends when the men gather for the celebration that accompanies the first night of an Elizabethan marriage. Maria defies her husband and warns him that she will tame Petruchio, just as he had tamed her cousin Kate. Soon Maria and her friends are reinforced by a large contingent of "City Wives and Country Wives."
In the second act Petruchio and his male comrades plan an assault on the women's fortress but are held at bay by the women and reduced to trading invective with them across the barricades. At last a peace treaty is reached, its terms including many of the advances in financial and personal independence women would need another four hundred years to win in real life.
In Act Three Maria settles in to pursue a career of scholarship and horsemanship at Petruchio's country estate, but the peace is again broken when Maria once more refuses to perform her conjugal duties and imposes further demands on her husband. Petruchio resolves to play ill in an attempt to awaken his wife's pity. His ruse fails totally when Maria catches on: in an extremely effective and humorous scene has Petruchio walled up in his house on the pretext that he has caught the plague.
Petruchio finally fights his way out, but in Act Four he discovers that his wife has "gone mad"she has begun to dress like a common whore (in a perfect counterpart to Petruchio's entrance in fantastic attire in the earlier play) and is busy flirting with his friends. When Petruchio announces that he has had enough of marriage and is abandoning Maria for foreign travel, she encourages him to depart on the pretext that his journeys may broaden his vision and turn him into a better human being.
Almost totally defeated as Act Five opens, Petruchio tries one final stratagem in an attempt to awaken some spark of compassion in Maria. He decides to play dead, and in one of the Elizabethan theater's celebrated scenes he is borne onstage in a coffin before his wife and friends. Maria is indeed moved to tears, but they are inspired, as she tells us in a famous speech, not by his person but by his "unmanly, wretched, foolish life......how far below a man, how far from reason" Petruchio has remained.
This last salvo of abuse brings Petruchio back from the dead: he sits up in his coffin, prompting in Maria a state of final bafflement if not total respect. The two pledge that they will start life anew together amidst the richly comic and ironic mood that ends the play. In a sub-plot, Maria's sister Livia proves equally successful at outwitting her father's plan to have her wed a wealthy but impotent graybeard and is finally united with her own beloved.
Possible Reasons for This Play's Obscurity
We are now perhaps in a position where we can begin to recognize the various reasons why this play is not better known. They can be summarized, more or less in order, as follows:
1. The general eclipse of the reputation of John Fletcher as a playwright.
2. A possibly unconscious disinclination among at least some scholars over many generations to discuss a play that energetically challenges male dominion and advances a set of principles remarkably similar to what we today call "women's rights." During other periods, these principles may have seemed so outlandish as to be virtually incomprehensible. (Fletcher/Ferguson 1966, 15)
3. A possible further disinclination among scholars and critics to devote serious consideration to a play that appeared to parody, and perhaps even challenge, the work of Shakespeare, even though the latter clearly forgave Fletcher for his transgression. (Swinburne 1894, 74-75)
4. An overall preoccupation, among those relatively few scholars who have studied this play, with such matters as its dating, the spelling and printing of the original text, its precise textual relationship with other plays by Fletcher, Beaumont, or Shakespeare, and other themes largely peripheral to the meaning of the play itself. Ferguson is the principal exception to this rule.
5. The distinct handicap of the play's two other two titles (The Woman's Prize and The Tamer Tamed) in awakening reader, much less play-goer, interest when at any time the title The Taming of the Tamer would have been just as available and defensible.
6. The play's relative unavailability in any form. Ferguson's scholarly edition of 1966, published by Mouton in The Hague, provides the only example of the play being published on its own over nearly four hundred years1, and even this excellent work is largely, as already noted, a careful and specialized reconstruction of the text with Elizabethan spelling and punctuation. The only other "available" versions have been in unwieldy multiple bound volumes of the so-called works of "Beaumont and Fletcher."
7. Certain difficulties presented by the text itself: there are considerable problems in dealing with a text that is:
a) often sexually suggestive,
b) corrupt (through two or more conflicting and poorly proof-read versions),
c) still censored in at least some patches,
d) written in Fletcher's breezy and somewhat non-Shakespearean metrical style, and
e) politically provocative because of its presentation of unfamiliar ideas.
8. The possible disinclination of some scholars, during more than one historical period, to discuss in an open and forthright manner certain facts about John Fletcher's personal lifestyle, which any truly authoritative study of his work (or that of "Beaumont") certainly needed to address, as these factors may have had a definite bearing on the work and outlook of both men, this play included.
No one of these problems is really that hard to solve in itself, and some brave attempts have been made. But taken altogether in their totality, they may well have discouraged interest in this play over a number of generations. Similarly, the play also suffers, like many dramatic works of its period, from a weak sub-plot. But scenes from this sub-plot started being dropped as early as the play's first known manuscript, and this factor is unlikely to have contributed greatly to the play's obscurity.
Precisely Who Were "Beaumont and Fletcher?"
A preceding section necessarily raises the question in our heading: how much do we really know about these two playwrights who have come down to us as "Beaumont and Fletcher?" The order of the two names ought to mean that Beaumont was the more important of the pair, but most learned opinion, both today and shortly after their death, has tended to the opposite conclusion. Of the fifty-three plays now considered to form part of the "Beaumont and Fletcher canon," at best three were written by Beaumont alone, while twelve or more are now ascribed to the sole hand of Fletcher. Another twelve were jointly written by both men, leaving twenty-five other plays not yet accounted for. It is now widely held that almost all of these were written by Fletcher in collaboration with one or more colleagues: the names most often mentioned are Philip Massinger, Ben Jonson, Nathan Field, William Rowley, and William Shakespeare.
Despite the disparity in their literary outpourings (for which, as we shall see, there was the very best of reasons), a debate has endured over the centuries as to which of these two playwrights was the more gifted. The reader can uncover this debate for himself by opening the Fourteenth Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, until only a few years ago the current one, to the topic "Beaumont and Fletcher." There he will find an impassioned and strangely dated tirade in favor of Beaumont, written over a century ago by the Victorian poet Algernon Charles Swinburne. This piece is accompanied by a semi-apology from the editors that this essay's value is substantially unaffected, despite many changes in critical opinion. And to some extent they are correctit is very hard to find anyone today ready to debate the relative merits of these playwrights with Swinburne's passion. For the most part Fletcher and Beaumont have simply fallen off the map of theater experience.
The reasons for this are fairly well known and are summed up in the reference work British Writers:
"The reaction of readers against their work set in with romanticism. In his marginalia, Samuel Coleridge missed no opportunity of comparing, to their disadvantage, Beaumont and Fletcher with Shakespeare. It was part of that romantic bardolatry that regarded Shakespeare as a moral philosopher, demigod, even: "Merciful, wonder-making Heaven, what a man was this Shakespeare." Much of twentieth-century criticism has been as obliquely disparaging as Coleridge's comments: a trenchant paragraph from T.S. Eliot, a sour aside here and there, have conspired to reduce the two authors' status, as if by appeal to some undisclosed consensus. Victorian attitudes have subtly lingered."2
Thus in some ways Shakespeare and a few other figures from Elizabethan literature have come to be placed on a pedestal beside the ancient Greeks. I have described elsewhere the negative effects of this procedure where the Greeks are concerned3 [included on this website: click here], and a comparable process may also be at work here.
This does not mean that other scholars will not defend Fletcher's claims with equal tenacity, and this entire debate seems strangely stilted and disjointed until one realizes that perhaps some other unmentionedand until recently unmentionablefactors may also be at work.
How Truly Feminist is the Play?
The Taming of the Tamer can not only quite legitimately claim to be a feminist play in the full modern sense, but even a radically feminist play. Both in the practical goals it proclaims and the rhetoric it employs, it accepts as its target many of the demands for fair and equal treatment of women familiar to us today, some of them still not fully attained.
What follows is a partial list of the women's goals and ideals clearly enunciated in this play. If some of these seem hollow or obvious today, it is because they have already to some extent been achieved in the four hundred years since the play was written. But at that time they would probably have appeared to Elizabethans as utopian in the extreme.
1. The right for women to own and/or administer property.
2. The right to education, summarized in Maria's desire for "women to read French."
3. The notion that women might actually be able to write books.
4. The even more remarkable suggestion that a woman might found a religion.
5. The right of women to demand respect from their husbands.
6. The right of women to submit to sex only when they feel like it.
7. The right of wives to indulge in innocent flirtations with other men.
8. The right to be unfaithful to a man, "if he deserve it." (At a time when divorce was still the sole province of lusty monarchs, this was a remarkable demand indeed).
9. The right of women to ride horses, engage in falconry, and take part in other pursuits seen primarily as a man's preserve.
10. The right of women to band together to promote their own goals.
Some may object that Fletcher is merely satirizing these goals or even exposing them to ridicule, but the remarkable thing is that these views are even expressed at all. An author attempting to satirize a cause inevitably tries to show it as a failure, but in this play Maria moves from victory to victory until the very end, and it is Petruchio who is continually defeated.
Here are a few of the play's many passages celebrating values we today might label as "feminist. In the first excerpt, Maria appeals to the future to justify her quest:"
Think what women shall
A hundred year hence bespeak thee, when examples
Are looked for, and so great ones, whose relations
Spoke as we do 'em4, wench, shall make new customs.
She clearly believes that she will one day be recognized as the chief leader in the movement leading towards such a society:
Thou wilt be chronicled.
That's all I aim at.
Her cousin further encourages her in the following words:
All the several wrongs,
Done by imperious husbands to their wives
These thousand years and upwards, strengthen thee:
Thou hast a brave cause.
Should their plan fail, they gird themselves to undertake even more extreme measures:
and through seas
Unknown and unbelieved, [we'll] seek out a land,
Where like a race of noble Amazons,
We'll root ourselves and to our endless glory
Liveand despise base men.
Finally, there is the remarkable "Women's Call to Arms" scene, the shortest in the play, which I have included in the handout as it appeared in the three earliest versions of the play:
(Enter three maids at several doors)
FIRST MAID: How goes the business, girls?
SECOND MAID: Afoot, and fair.
THIRD MAID: If fortune favor us: away to your strength,
The country forces are arrived. Begone,
We are discovered else.
FIRST MAID: Arm, and be valiant.
SECOND MAID: Think of our cause.
THIRD MAID:Our justice.
FIRST MAID: 'Tis sufficient.
Corrupt, Censored, and other Controversial Passages
I have devoted many pages to this subject in the Introduction to the Annotated Edition of this play. Here I will cover it only briefly by inserting one of the sheets from my handout at this point.
The Voice of the Dramaturg: Artist, Adaptor, or Scholar?
SUBTOPIC: When Is A Play Readable?
(And When Is It Beyond Appreciation?)
It is beyond dispute that all Elizabethan plays now belong to the public domain. But it is very much open to dispute whether all Elizabethan plays are equally readable by the public, even by informed readers or scholars. As the abstract for this paper makes clear, the works of Shakespeare are far more likely to be in a readable state than those of many other authors from his era.
Precisely how readable is John Fletcher's The Taming of the Tamer today? To what extent can theatre lovers, dramaturgs, or even scholars be expected to pick up a copy of this play and reach a reasonable assessment of its dramatic worth? Here are a few of the problems they have had to contend with in the past, though they are unlikely to have had any forewarning of their existence.
1. The Wrong Title: although the title The Taming of the Tamer is as ancient as the play itself, a mix-up combining censorship, England's Civil War, and editorial neglect has saddled the play with the unpromising title of The Woman's Prize, or at best The Tamer Tamed.
2. The Wrong Exposition: because certain matters of the exposition were obvious to Fletcher's contemporaries they are not explained in the surviving playscript. But they most definitely require explanation today, whether as interpositions in an acting version or as footnotes in a scholarly edition. Examples are the reasons for Kate's death or the failure to mention Bianca's husband, left over from the previous play.
3. The Wrong Sub-plot: the meandering sub-plot printed in most editions clearly does not help this playwhat most readers will not discover is that its scenes were already being cut even in the play's earliest manuscript.
4. Unresolved and/or Conflicting Plot References: because the printed versions of this play clearly reflect three or more acting versions, numerous ambiguities remain in the text and have been read by at least some critics as amateurisms.
5. Numerous Corrupt and/or Censored Passages: these abound throughout the text and have greatly added to the difficulties in assessing this play. Until now no scholar has set out to find solutions for most of these.
6. Numerous Missing Lines, Half-Lines, or Odd Bits of Meter: these are far more likely to explain certain other seeming contradictions in the text than any oversights committed by the author.
7. Fletcher's Stature as a Metricist: many readers encountering Fletcher's seemingly irregular metrical practices vis &ldots; vis Shakespeare might suppose them to be inferior. In point of fact, Fletcher was hailed as a great metrical innovator, whose inventions would inspire such later authors as Lord Byron, Swinburne, and even Walt Whitman.
8. The Wrong Final Couplet: even the final couplet of the play, bearing its most crucial meaning, has fallen victim to faulty typography and is erroneously presented in all existing editions of the play. Thus, it is no exaggeration to say that this play has been distorted from opening title to final couplet, with many further misunderstandings lodged in between.
The Dramaturg's Proper Contribution to Such a Script
The problems faced by a Dramaturg in shaping a modern stage version of this play are described in the abstract to this paper. As noted, these crucial demands were met by "first creating an initial Acting Version (in collaboration with my wife to provide a woman's perspective) but by then reconstructing the full original text in an Annotated Edition acceptable to scholars (in consultation with the play's only other living scholar) and making appropriate changes in the Acting Version, while maintaining its viability as a stage vehicle."
An attempt has been made to be both creative and conservative by following a well-known and well-established procedure employed over several decades for dealing with such texts. The principles of this procedure are described in some detail by Stanley Wells in his Re-editing Shakespeare for the Modern Reader, originally presented as a series of lectures at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington. These principles were perhaps originally formulated by John Barton in his reconstruction of Shakespeare's lesser and supposedly unstageworthy history plays for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Perhaps most relevantly, one of the co-editors of the Acting Version had the privilege of serving as Literary Advisor to this company during this very period and so is quite familiar with how these principles work in practice.
It should be emphasized that the goal of this procedure is not to inflict wholesale adaptations on a play or even necessarily to edit or adapt it as such. Rather, the point is to enable the playwright, though situated in another historical era or even another language and culture, to express his meaning as thoroughly as possible to our own era in terms of our own language and culture. Thus, the overall purpose is not to betray the play's intrinsic meaning but to retransmit that meaning, where retransmission is needed, for a new audience. A few of the actual rules for applying this method, with examples here from The Taming of the Tamer, are far less onerous in practice than might be imagined:
1. If a word is totally incomprehensible to a modern audience, do not be afraid to change it into its nearest modern equivalent. Thus, metheglin, bragget, and posset become transmuted in the Acting Version into spicy mead, honeyed ale, and steaming eggnog. While meter may suffer slightly from these changes, meaning profits greatly (and in any case Fletcher was well known for his extra metrical syllables). Similarly, the passage:
MARIA:What's a husband?
What are we married for, to carry sumpters?
Becomes quite simply:
MARIA:What's a husband?
What are we married for, to carry saddle bags?
[As noted in the excerpt from the play, a terrible war between HTML and correct representation of Elizabethan verse lines unavoidably creeps in here and there.]
2. Do not be afraid to convert crucial footnotes into extra lines onstage: the line "Spinola's but a ditcher to her, there's a half-moon," becomes in the Acting Version "The Spanish general Spinola's but a ditch-digger / To her, her embattlement's a half-moon in form."
3. If the meaning of a line, or even multiple lines, is quite unclear or deeply disputed by scholars, do not be afraid to cut it: thus, until such time as this allusion is satisfactorily explained, the following two lines in the Annotated Edition will not appear in the Acting Version:
TRANIO: There's an ale figure.
PETRONIUS: I thank you, Susan Brotes.
A corollary of this principle can on occasion apply to extended dialogue or even entire scenes.
5. If an otherwise comprehensible word has acquired such a totally new sense as to inadvertently bring down the house, obviously this word must also be changed: Let me die lousy necessarily becomes Let me die louse-ridden.
6. Finally, greater audacity may be introduced where appropriate. The last person to attempt a stage version of Tamer was David Garrick, who in the mid Eighteenth Century cut the entire sub-plot. I have not been so radical and have attempted to reassemble the sub-plot's best lines in a greatly abbreviated version. I have also rearranged and cut a fair amount of other material.
These are essentially the principles which have been followed in creating the Acting Version, though the original phrases have in all cases been preserved in the text of the Annotated Edition. The task of determining precisely what those original phrases may have been is another quite separate issue and is addressed in the Introduction to that edition.
1 By comparison, over the same span of time Shakespeare's comedy Much Ado About Nothing went through some 120 individual editions, not counting its presence in countless sets of Collected Works. Even Collected Works editions of Beaumont and Fletcher are quite hard to find on the used book market.
2 Fletcher, Ian. Francis Beaumont (1584-1616) John Fletcher (1579-1625). In British Writers, vol. 2, p. 42.
3 Gross, Alex. 1969, 118-40.
4 whose relations / Spoke as we do 'em, this section can be paraphrased: whose expressions spoken as we do them.
[NOTE: In the interest of brevity this bibliography has been adapted and abridged from the one appearing in the text of the Annotated Edition. Omitted are the chronological list of Collected Works of Beaumont and Fletcher (the only edition listed is Ferguson's of 1966) and the bibliographical and lexicographical source resources consulted.]
General and Topical Reference:
Adams, J.Q. 1917. Dramatic Records of Sir Henry Herbert. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Appleton, William W. 1956. Beaumont and Fletcher, A Critical Study. London: George Allen & Unwin.
Aubrey, John. 1950. Brief Lives. edited by Oliver Lawson Dick. London: Secker & Warburg.
Barroll, J. Leeds, Leggat, Alexander, et.al. 1975. The Revels, History of Drama in English, vol iii. London: Methuen.
Bentley, G. E. 1941-68. The Jacobean and Caroline Stage. 7 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Bentley, G. E. 1971. The Profession of Dramatist in Shakespeare's Time, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Boswell, James, Jr. 1821. "Malone's Shakespeare," vol. 3. " London: Rivington.
Carpenter, Edward. 1902. Iolus, An Anthology. London: S. Sonnenschein.
Chalmers, Alexander. 1812-17. The General Biographical Dictionary. London: J. Nichols & Son.
Chambers, Edmund Kerchever. 1923. The Elizabethan Stage. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Cone, Mary. 1976. Fletcher Without Beaumont. Salzburg: Universitt Salzburg.
Farnham, W. 1916. "Colloquial Contractions in Beaumont, Fletcher, Massinger, and Shakespeare as a Test of Authorship." PMLA 31
Fleay, Frederick Gard. 1891. A Biographical Chronicle of the English Drama, 15591642. London: Reeves & Turner.
Fletcher, Ian. . "Francis Beaumont (1584-1616) John Fletcher (1579-1625)." In British Writers, vol. ii. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
Fletcher, John. 1966. The Woman's Prize. Edited by George B. Ferguson. The Hague: Mouton.
Garde, Noel I. 1964. Jonathan to Gide, The Homosexual in History. New York: Vantage.
Gayley, Charles Mills. 1914. Beaumont the Dramatist. New York: Century.
Genest, John. 1832. Some Account of the English Stage from the Restoration in 1660 to 1830, vol. 1. Bath: H.E. Carrington.
Grieve, M. 1931. A Modern Herbal. New York: Dover Books.
Gross, Alex. 1969. "Goat Singers and Scholars." In New World Writing 5. New York: New American Library.
Hoy, Cyrus. 1956. "The Shares of Fletcher and his Collaborators in the Beaumont and Fletcher Canon." Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Virginia.
Hunt, Leigh. 1900. Beaumont and Fletcher. London: George Bell.
Leech, Clifford. 1962. The John Fletcher Plays. London: Chatto & Windus.
Macaulay, G.C. 1883. Francis Beaumont, A Critical Study. New York: Lemma.
Makkink, Henri Jacob. 1927. Philip Massinger and John Fletcher: A Comparison. Rotterdam: Nijgh & Van Ditmar.
Mason, Monck J. 1798. Comments on the Plays of Beaumont and Fletcher. London: E. Harding.
Maxwell, Baldwin. 1939. Studies in Beaumont, Fletcher, and Massinger. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
McKeithan, Daniel Morley. 1938. The Debt to Shakespeare in the Beaumont-and-Fletcher Plays, Austin: privately published.
Oliphant, E.H.C. 1927. The Plays of Beaumont and Fletcher. New Haven: Yale University Press.
The Parnassus Trilogy. 1886. Edited by Macray and Leishman. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Parrott, Thomas Marc & Ball, Robert Hamilton. 1943, revised 1958. A Short View of Elizabethan Drama. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
Shakespeare, William. 1966. The Taming of the Shrew. Edited by Robert B. Heilman. New York: New American Library.
Squier, Charles L. 1986. John Fletcher. Boston: Twayne Publishers.
Swinburne, Algernon Charles. Article on "Beaumont and Fletcher. In "Encyclopedia Britannica, Fourteenth Edition; originally published in a slightly longer form, including a mention of the Tamer play, 1894. In his Studies in Prose and Poetry, London: Chatto & Windus.
The Taming of A Shrew. 1908. Edited by F.S.Boas, London: Chatto & Windus.
Thorndike, Ashley H. 1901/1965. The Influence of Beaumont and Fletcher on Shakespeare. New York: Russell & Russell.
Tom A Lincoln. 1992. Edited by G. R. Proudfoot, Oxford: The Malone Society Reprints, Oxford University Press.
Wallis, Lawrence B. 1947. Fletcher, Beaumont,and Company. New York: King's Crown Press.
Ward, A.W. 1875. History of English Dramatic Literature. London: MacMillan.
Wells, Stanley W. 1984. Re-editing Shakespeare for the Modern Reader. Based on lectures given at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
(This "Table of Contents" from the Annotated Edition has been interposed at this point to provide some impression of the research underlying this brief presentation.)
Sections of the Introduction
I: General Overview
The Basic Facts ---4
A Summary of the Play---6
About the Characters ---9
Parallels with The Taming of the Shrew---11
Critical History: A Brief Account---19
How Truly Feminist Is This Play?---22
Possible Reasons for This Play's Obscurity---29
Precisely Who Were "Beaumont and Fletcher?---32
II: Specialized Topics
The Scholarly Ambiance---36
Dating the First Performance---40
The Play's First Fifty Years---58
The Style and Meter---64
Corrupt Passages in this Play---80
The Question of Censorship---86
A Matter of Personal Life-Style---91
The Acting Version and the Sub-Plot---100
Educational and Dramaturgical Aspects---103
Appendix: Seventeenth Century Texts in their Original Spelling ---214
This paper is Copyright © 1994
by Alexander Gross. It may be
reproduced for individuals and for
educational purposes only. It may
not be used for any commercial (i.e.,
money-making) purpose without
written permission from the author.
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