Francis Beaumont

(1584—1616) playwright

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collaborated with Fletcher in dramatic works from about 1606 to 1613(for a list of their plays, see Fletcher, J.). His earliest known play, The Woman Hater, a Jonsonian comedy of humours, was probably performed 1605, published 1607; recent linguistic analysis assigns some scenes in this to Fletcher, whereas The Knight of the Burning Pestle (?1607) is now generally considered to be Beaumont's alone.

Dryden, in Of Dramatick Poesy (1668), pays tribute to the success of the Beaumont and Fletcher plays on the Restoration stage, and comments that both writers had ‘great natural gifts improved by study; Beaumont especially being so accurate a judge of plays that Ben Jonson, while he lived, submitted all his writings to his censure, and, 'tis thought, used his judgement in correcting, if not contriving, all his plots’. In the 17th cent. opinion tended to ascribe the tragic scenes in the collaborative effort to Beaumont, the comic to Fletcher, but modern critics reject this neat division, and are themselves divided about attribution. See Fletcher For Further Details.

Subjects: Literature.

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Works by Francis Beaumont