The Knight of the Burning Pestle

Bloomsbury Publishing
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'Let him kill a lion with a pestle, husband; let him kill a lion with a pestle.'

So exclaims the Grocer's wife who, with her husband and servants, is attending one of the London's elite playhouses where a theatre comany has just begun to perform. Peeved at the fact that all the plays they see are satires on the lives and values of London's citizenry, the Grocer and his wife interrupt and demand a play that instead contains chivalric quests and courtly love. What's more, they nominate their apprentice Rafe to take on the hero's role of the knight in this entirely new play.


The author, Francis Beaumont, ends up not just satirising the grocers' naive taste for romance but parodying his own example of citizen comedy. This play-within-a-play becomes a pastiche of contemporary plays that scorned those who were not courtiers or at least gentlemen or ladies. Like Cervantes in Don Quixote, Beaumont exposes the folly of those that take representations for realities, but also celebrates their idealism and love of adventure.


The editor, Michael Hattaway, is editor of plays by Shakespeare and Jonson as well as of several volumes of critical essays, and author of Elizabethan Popular Theatre, Hamlet: The Critics Debate, and Renaissance and Reformations: An Introduction to Early Modern English Literature. He is Professor Emeritus of English Literature in the University of Sheffield.

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About the author

Francis Beaumont (1584-1616) was an English playwright, mainly remembered for his successful collaboration with John Fletcher. Beaumont's most famous plays include The Woman Hater and The Knight of the Burning Pestle. He began to collaborate with Fletcher in about 1606-08, and their first success came in 1609 with Philaster, followed a year later by The Maid's Tragedy and A King and No King. Together, they wrote at least six plays; in a further seven or eight cases the attribution is probable but not certain.

Michael Hattaway is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Sheffield. In 2010 he gave the 100th Annual Shakespeare Lecture for the British Academy.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Bloomsbury Publishing
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Published on
Jun 18, 2014
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Pages
160
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ISBN
9781408144091
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Drama / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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