- Unknown Binding: 152 pages
- Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (1974)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000GO1QJ4
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
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Philaster (Regents Renaissance Drama)
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Top customer reviews
The introduction mentions the traditional criticism of the Beaumont and Fletcher plays as superficial entertainment - this particular play is open to criticism for what I myself most enjoy in it, its sentimentality and escape from the burden of psychological realism. The editor counters such criticism by unravelling possible political references that (in her view) give the play weight and significance. A central character is a king of Calabria who has usurped, in addition, the crown of Sicily - reminiscent of King James I's ascent to the English throne? The plot revolves around the king's plan to marry his daughter and heir to an odious Spanish prince - at the time, James was seriously considering marrying Prince Henry, his son and heir, to a Spanish princess. Was the hero's remark `I am not a minion' a dig at James's favourites? And so on. I find all this incredible. I am no expert on Jacobean England, but surely playwrights were not free to criticize the monarch. As it is, the play was passed by the royal censor, and chosen for performance before the king himself. Moreover, what has this to do with the play's quality as a play? - something about which this editor says suprisingly little.
Rather than this edition I would recommend the older one in the Revels Plays series by Andrew Gurr, who treats the political angle with more discretion, writes well about the feel and themes of the play, brings out the its novelty as the first English 'tragicomedy', and has himself a pleasing literary style.