John Fletcher

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Fletcher, John,

1579–1625, English dramatist, b. Rye, Sussex, educated at Cambridge. A member of a prominent literary family, he began writing for the stage about 1606, first with Francis BeaumontBeaumont, Francis
, 1584?–1616, English dramatist. Born of a distinguished family, he studied at Oxford and the Inner Temple. His literary reputation is linked with that of John Fletcher, with whom he began collaborating about 1606.
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, with whom his name is inseparably linked, later with Massinger and others. Fletcher may have collaborated with Shakespeare on Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kinsmen. He is also thought the principal author of Double Falsehood (first published 1727), in which Shakespeare may have had a hand. Though there is great uncertainty in dating the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher, their chief works appeared between 1607 and 1613. In Philaster, A Maid's Tragedy, A King and No King, and The Scornful Lady, they developed the form of the romance tragicomedy, which came to characterize a whole generation of later plays. In these plays a potentially tragic situation is developed until, at the end, through a twist of plot a happy solution is effected. A prolific writer, he enjoyed great success in many genres because of his entertaining and accessible poetry, his masterful use of sexual intrigue, and the refined composition of his work.


See edition of the works of Beaumont and Fletcher by F. Bowers (7 vol., 1966–); studies by E. Waith (1952), A. E. Thorndike (1965), and J. H. Wilson (1968).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fletcher, John


Born December 1579 in Rye, Sussex; died August 1625 in London. English dramatist.

Fletcher wrote most of his plays in collaboration with F. Beaumont (Philaster, 1611; The Maid’s Tragedy, 1611; and A King and No King, 1611) and P. Massinger (The Little French Lawyer, 1619). Among the plays that he wrote alone were Monsieur Thomas (1615), Wit Without Money (1614), and Rule a Wife and Have a Wife (1624). Fletcher’s works pose no profound national, political, or ethical problems; the plays reflect the moral corruption of the nobility and the court aristocracy and challenge bourgeois Puritanism and its sanctimonious morality. Fletcher and Beaumont originated the genre of tragicomedy.


The Works of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, vols. 1–10. Cambridge, 1905–12.
In Russian translation:
P’esy, vols. 1–2. [Introduction by A. Anikst.] Moscow, 1965.


Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 1, part 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1945.
Wallis, L. B. Fletcher, Beaumont and Company. New York, 1947.
Leech, C. The John Fletcher Plays. London, 1962.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.