Bartholomew Fair

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A comedy by Jonson, performed 1614, printed 1631. The play is set at the fair which took place at Smithfield on 24 August, St Bartholomew's Day, and follows the fortunes of various visitors to it: Littlewit, a proctor, his wife Win‐the‐fight, his mother‐in‐law Dame Purecraft, and her mentor the ranting Puritan Zeal‐of‐the‐land Busy, who come to eat roast pig; the rich simpleton Bartholomew Cokes, Wasp, his angry servant, and Grace Wellborn, who is unwillingly betrothed to Cokes; Justice Adam Overdo, who attends the fair in disguise in order to discover its ‘enormities’; and two gallants, Quarlous and Winwife, who intend to jeer at the fair‐people. Many mishaps and misunderstandings ensue. The play ends with the performance of a puppet‐play written by Littlewit, in imitation of Marlowe's Hero and Leander.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).

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