Massinger


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Massinger

Philip. 1583--?1640, English dramatist, noted esp for his comedy A New Way to pay Old Debts (1633)
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Thus Jonas Barish on the mixing of verse and prose foregrounds the issue of indeterminacy in Shakespearian comedy; Barbara Everett examines how Much Ado creates a sense of the very real nothingness of the social fabric; Adrian Poole looks at the relationship of laughter, remembering, and forgetting in the comedies; by contrast John Creaser explores what he calls Jonson's enigmatic art and 'wild inventiveness', how like Fellini he provokes his audience by dispensing with plot and undermining intellectual security, while Martin Butler's interesting historicist analysis of Massinger's 'grim comedy' of A New Way To Pay Old Debts repositions the play in the splitting up of the aristocracy in the 1620s.
Massinger's Roman Actor finally deconstructs the didactic function of tragedy by showing 'the tyrant using theater to display his strength'.
Although The False One (ca 1620) was published in the 1647 Beaumont and Fletcher first folio, its authors were Massinger (acts 1 and 5) and Fletcher (acts 2, 3, and 4).
The result is an analysis that is both trenchant and thoughtful and that addresses Massinger's interest in the precise relationship that drama bears to its audience.
Joanne Rochester's study Staging Spectatorship in the Plays of Philip Massinger is a very welcome addition to what she herself describes as the "growing literature on Caroline drama" (3).
Given that being locked up for sedition was an occupational hazard for Jacobean playwrights, it seems reasonable to assume that Massinger was using Ancient Rome as a front to write about his own time.
It is just possible that Massinger strains the same quibble in A New Way to Pay Old Debts (1621), when Overreach tells Lovell:
Eleven more plays survive in which Dekker collaborated with such figures as Thomas Middleton, John Webster, Philip Massinger, John Ford, and William Rowley.
Incidentally, Philip Massinger dramatized Painter's story in the late 1620s as The Picture, A True Hungarian History: see Philip Edwards and Colin Gibson (eds), The Plays and Poems of Philip Massinger, 5 vols (Oxford, 1976), 3.181-287.
But this chapter also does a rather impressive job of democratizing the history of players; thus the short-careered and short-lived contemporaries John Thompson and John Honeyman get a moment in the spotlight next to the established older John Lowin in Astington's detailed pseudo-reconstruction of rehearsal and performance moments of Massinger's The Roman Actor.
In 1678, Thomas Rymer, the infamous debunker of Shakespeare, attacked Rollo, Duke of Normandy, a collaborative tyrant tragedy by John Fletcher, Philip Massinger, and probably some others, (1) on what ought to occur to us as a puzzling basis: Rymer located the root of the play's alleged ugliness in its ties to history.
On rare occasions, though, a musical fragment is all that survives of an otherwise lost play-text: Tourneur's 'The Nobleman' (1611) and Fletcher, Field, and Massinger's 'The Jeweller of Amsterdam' (1616) fall into this category.