Read The Knight of the Burning Pestle by Francis Beaumont John Fletcher Online


My Adversary Evermore Twits Me With My Nephew, Forsooth, My Nephew; Why May Not A Virtuous Uncle Have A Dissolute Nephew? What Though He Be A Brotheller, A Wastethrift, A Common Surfeiter, And, To Conclude, A Beggar; Must Sin In Him Call Up Shame In Me? Since We Have No Part In Their Follies, Why Should We Have Part In Their Infamies? For My Strict Hand Toward His MortgageMy Adversary Evermore Twits Me With My Nephew, Forsooth, My Nephew; Why May Not A Virtuous Uncle Have A Dissolute Nephew? What Though He Be A Brotheller, A Wastethrift, A Common Surfeiter, And, To Conclude, A Beggar; Must Sin In Him Call Up Shame In Me? Since We Have No Part In Their Follies, Why Should We Have Part In Their Infamies? For My Strict Hand Toward His Mortgage, That I Deny Not, I Confess I Had An Uncle's Pen'worth....

Title : The Knight of the Burning Pestle
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781428620599
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 168 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Knight of the Burning Pestle Reviews

  • Ana Rînceanu
    2019-05-12 01:59

    In the beginning, I thought I would see a play within a play, then it switched to a knight's tale and towards the end a kidnapping story. This play was bonkers!

  • Scott
    2019-05-10 21:49

    Unlike many of William Shakespeare's comedies, the humor seemed clear to me from the page, and i often laughed aloud. The momentum winds down a bit after Rafe's encounter with the barber, which is enough of a comic highlight that it was edited for a collection of "Rump Drolls" called The Wits, or Sport Upon Sport, that were supposedly performed during the Civil War (meaning the Oliver Cromwell period, for Amerocentrics). This version is included as Appendix B, but one wonders as to the point, since it seems the only difference is that the old-style spelling was retained whereas the body of the play has standardized the spelling to contemporary usage. Zitner claims (165) that a number of lines were omitted, but they certainly weren't as he presented them. I didn't check line by line, but I didn't notice any major discrepancies, and when those the editor points out as omitted on page 165 appear on page 168, one wonders the point of the inclusion.While there are many reasons I can think of to show a military drill a the end of a drama, Rafe's training of the military is neither as exciting or funny as the barber episode, ans one wonders if its anticlimactic nature isn't so much a mistake as a joke on the backwardness of the citizens who call for it, such as Shakespeare's "Coast of Bohemia" inThe Winter's Tale (which some editors in previous centuries actually altered, pretending that the compositor made a mistake).While Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker seemed to invite Mary Frith onto the stage, she died in 1659, and there is no evidence that she ever played herself inThe Roaring Girl, but here we have a grocer and his wife come on stage and insist upon changes to the narrative and offering their own apprentice, Rafe, as the actor. At only one point do the stories actually intertwine, when there is a brief battle between the protagonists of the two separate arcs, Jasper and Rafe. Shakespeare's contemporaries are not known for effectively tying two plots together the way he could, one of a number of assertions against Charles Hamilton's attribution ofThe Second Maiden's Tragedy as Shakespeare'sCardenio. Nevertheless, the effect is something resembling postmodernism, and despite being one of the best known and most published plays of the period not by Shakespeare or Ben Jonson, it was initially a flop. Zitner's explanation of the play's historical background and tie to the "children's company" (despite the name the boys tended to range in age between 8 and in their 20s) tradition at Blackfriars Theatre is most informative for contextualizing the play, in which references to the play being performed entirely by boys is most common.I was amused by Zitner's use of rhyme on page 70, note 184: "The sense intended is clear, but the phrase is awkward here." On page 73, line 244-8, there is an amusing quote from L. Stone'sThe Crisis of English Aristocracy, "The language used by men of . . high social standing is often so intemperate as to be almost deranged," which is parodied by Rafe making fun of aristocrats saying things like "the son of a whore" and "damned bitch," which made me think of Donald Trump. On pp 129-130, a theatre called the Red Bull is disdained as low brow, which I also see as unintentionally contemporary humor.I do have some specific issues with Zitner's notes in the play. On page 69, note 172, he refers readers to Act IV, line 418. In this edition, Act IV has only 320 lines. I believe he intended to put Act III, where the reference to a special diet for syphilitics occurs (there are a lot of jokes in the play about people claiming war wounds that are really effects of syphilis), but writing IV when you mean III is a serious editorial issue. A similar mistake appears on page 150, note 182, when Zitner refers readers to Act I, line 219, when he really means line 222. On page 71, note 212.2, Zitner refers to pp. 000 of the introduction. I don't get this. On p. 94, note 311, he references "Jasper's wordplay and action in lines 303-4." Did anyone proofread this? Lines 303-4 are spoken by Tim, have no stage direction close by, and don't make mortar and pestle jokes, although they are to be found on the page. On page 143, note 10-11, Zitner makes a reference to a "Stubbes" who describes and deplores the Morris Dance, but there is no indication of his first name or the source either in the note or in the list of sources on pp. ix-x. Finally, on page 173, there is a footnote that appears not to lead anywhere. Again this makes me wonder if any of the general editors read this before it got published (1984) and reprinted (2004). I read several English Renaissance plays last year, some mentioned above, and references to The Knight of the Burning Pestle were in at least one of them. I thought it was an interesting title. I didn't necessarily recognize it as a joke due to its age, thinking a pestle at a larger size could potentially have been an actual weapon. It refers to a garish parody of a the grocer's guild seal as it was similarly featured in Thomas Heywood'sThe Four Prentices of London, which is mentioned throughout the introduction and notes. I suspect The Winter's Tale is the one with the most references to The Knight, due to them both (as detailed by Zitner and Arden Winter's Tale editor John Pitcher) mocking the recent translation of Aristotle's Poetics, or at least the prescriptive use of it. Ben Jonson immediately accepted what it had to say as the truth of how plays should be written--specifically with the unities of time space and action. The one Jonson play I have read, The Alchemist, definitely respected the unities of space and action--it takes place entirely in the master's house as his servants try to scam various people. It was hard for me to imagine people making so many return visits to the "alchemist" without any lapse of time, however, but This is what became known as "the "well-made play." Pitcher discusses the translation of Poetics and Zitner details its influence in making certain types of theatre, particularly the Romances (which we would think of today more as adventures than as romances of the Harlequin sort), to be looked down upon by a certain class of people. Pitcher describes how Shakespeare wrote The Winter's Tale to go into all-out defiance of the Aristotelian unities. Zitner notes that Beaumont quite precisely keeps the unities of time space and action by setting it entirely in the theatre, no matter where what George and Nell are watching is supposedly taking place, having "audience" members on stage constantly reminds us that we are in the theatre, while a member of the company interacts with them, telling them they don't have the resources, for example, to show Princess Pompiona in a room of gold and velvet, as well as have George go off stage to get beer and so forth. the constant reminder that one is in the theatre breaks any illusion that one might be seeing an adventure play for any length of time. I tweeted out that Beaumont and Shakespeare "lampoon" the Aristotelian unities. After I posted that, I learned that the temporally correct word is "burlesque," both words having been coined around the mid-seventeenth century, and the difference between the two noted in the anonymous prologue that was added to a performance in the late 1660s (163), the difference being in the level of harshness. The Knight of the Burning Pestle, while quite witty towards the play's class issues, lacks the harshness "lampoon" would imply back then, which Zitner also theorizes as being cause for the play to initially flop, as the children's companies were expected to be more strongly satirical and have the effect of youths mocking their elders (13).Beaumont's play should appeal to the casual fan of Shakespeare with its gentle satires of moments in Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth (all identified in the footnotes, but often readily apparent), but perhaps the most commonly referenced scenic comparison is to King Henry IV, Part Two, from which Zitner tells us Samuel Taylor Coleridge considered a passage in this play plagiarism. The play is also valuable for a glimpse at how the plays were actually executed by its use of music in dances in way that normally would not have been included in the script because of the way that George and Nell comment on these moments. I am reminded of my college screenwriting professor, Ying Zhu, telling us "Don't direct," as we read each others' screenplays aloud in class with heavier and camera stage directions than are industry standard, but when you're being creative, it's difficult to resist even if you know you would need to cut it later to submit it on spec. Here we get more than usual put on paper than we do in other dramatic writing of the period.

  • Julie Bozza
    2019-05-14 23:44

    I have little idea what to say about this play... I've seen it twice now at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (the indoor theatre at Shakespeare's Globe in London) and it is the most hilarious thing ever. I think it might be my favourite theatrical experience - certainly it is the funniest play I've seen, and very very clever, too. That it was originally written 400 years ago just boggles my mind. 'Early-modern post-modern' I dubbed it, and my sis approved. I enjoyed reading the play, and there's certainly plenty of good things on the page. But I think its brilliance is in the scope it allows for a humdinger of a performance. I guess that is true for most plays: they are written to be performed rather than read. (And it's not just me who loves it. Timothy Spall played the part of Rafe some years ago, and named his even more brilliant son after the role.) If you ever get the chance to see this on the stage, please do yourself the proverbial favour. Francis Beaumont, I do ♥ you truly.♦17 June: OK, so I can't work out how to review multiple editions, despite consulting GR's 'Help'. I originally read the Nick Hern Books edition edited by Colin Counsell (9781854596246).I've also now read the Bloomsbury edition edited by Michael Hattaway (9780713650693) which is terrific for providing more substance in the intro and notes. Currently my preferred edition. ♦10 July 2016: And I've now read the Revels Plays edition, edited by Sheldon P Zitner (9780719069673).This is The One, folks! Absolutely wonderful and very thorough Introduction, which made me feel I was finally getting a grasp on the fact that the play didn't quite appear out of nowhere. Also, very useful appendices on the play's Interludes and Songs. If you need to choose just one edition, this is the one I'd recommend.

  • Katheryn Thompson
    2019-04-30 01:56

    Read as part of Renaissance Drama: an anthology of plays and entertainments, ed. Arthur F. Kinney (Blackwell 2013)

  • Rebekah
    2019-05-11 05:11

    Absolutely fantastic! So fun and meta. A citizen and his wife interrupt a play and insist on having things performed to their specific preferences and chaos ensues. Plenty of satire and parody not only of the culture, theatre, and theatrical audiences, but also of other plays in the era including Shakespeare. Though it can be confusing trying to work out the storylines and meta aspect just from reading the play, the attempt is absolutely worth it and the humor is wonderful. An entertaining, unconventional play that was far ahead of its time.

  • Christine
    2019-05-12 22:09

    Just like the 17th Century Monty Python sketch you always dreamed of. Great companion to Tieck's Puss in Boots.

  • Mal
    2019-05-19 02:48

    this is literally just one big dick joke dont think im kidding

  • Simon Mcleish
    2019-05-10 22:49

    Originally published on my blog here in January 2002.To a modern reader or theatre audience member, The Knight of the Burning Pestle irresistibly suggests another seventeenth century story, the far better known Don Quixote. When it was reprinted and revived in 1633, it was given a preface refuting the idea that it was derivative, by pointing out that its original performance occurred before the first appearance of Cervantes' novel in England. (This denial is a measure of just how popular Don Quixote was already by the 1630s.)The structure of The Knight of the Burning Pestle is a double play within the play. A group of players is about to perform The London Merchant, a romantic comedy satirising that class, when two members of the audience object. A grocer and his wife are not used to play-going, but they fear that their trade isn't going to be taken seriously; and they insist that the grocer's apprentice, Ralph, be permitted to take a part which shows grocers in a better light. This is done, Ralph taking the part of a modern knight errant, an apprentice fired by tales of chivalry to take up a device appropriate to his origins, a shield showing a burning pestle (as in pestle and mortar). His adventures, and the constant interference of his not too bright master and mistress, play havoc with the drama that is meant to be on stage.The Knight of the Burning Pestle is very funny, and ends up (of course) satirising the aspirations of the merchant class a great deal more strongly than would have been the case with The London Merchant alone. That's probably the reason that it failed when first produced, before an audience a little too similar to that which it parodies, but success on revival (and its bizarre title) has left it one of the best known Jacobean comedies.

  • Dandi
    2019-05-26 04:03

    the most Monty Python thing Monty Python never did

  • Kyle
    2019-04-29 22:46

    The interrupting Citizens of Beaumont's play make for a rare romp in dramatic literacy, and their insistence on an apprentice as the Knight of the Burning Pestle is an odd choice. Yet the satire of popular children theatre companies (Hamlet's often cited "little eyases") and the striving merchants who are bettered by their apprentices signals a shift in popular entertainment. Even the romances popular at the end of Shakespeare's career seem to be a bit dated here. Wow I never heard of this play before, it is no surprise that it is now being performed on the Globe's Sam Wanamaker stage until March 30th! While I wish I could be instantly there to see it, I had a good sense from reading this play of how it might play out with a modern audience. Nell would be a yoga pants-wearing, new-age dieter (for all her medicinal advice for other actors) who has a bloodlust for TV wrestlers or hockey fights: "kill, kill, kill, kill, kill". Her husband, the Grocer, on the other hand would be wearing a Bluetooth on stage, insistently micromanaging the child actors on stage while taking calls from head office. What to make of the continually warbling dead-beat dad Merrythought, whether he belongs to the made-up world of the London Merchant or is a closer kin to our own, would be up for the director to decide. Anyone going to the Sam please let me know!

  • Tony
    2019-05-19 02:49

    80. THE KNIGHT OF THE BURNING PESTLE. (1613). Francis Beaumont. ****.The last time I read this for an Elizabethan Drama class, it was attributed to Beaumont and Fletcher. Apparently someone did some research in the last fifty-five years and decided that the play was written solely by Beaumont. OK. This edition was published by Mermaid Press as a “New Mermaid” edition. That means that the spelling has been modernized and the punctuation updated. That makes these plays much easier to read. Once those things are out of the way, you will find that they – this one in particular – are actually quite funny. The average Englishman taking in this play was after entertainment, and this one delivers the goods. It starts off with a husband and wife coming up out of the audience and telling the players the type of play they want to see. So, instead of the original script, we find ourselves watching a play that evolves as we watch it. The obvious thrust of the play is satire – and broad satire. The object of the satire is the kind of play that the average play-goer wants to see. Now we get stuff that the mass audience wants; none of this heavy stuff. Rather than tell the plot, I’d recommend you read it and find out what the audience response polls turn out to be. I think the reader will be surprised. This play is available in several editions, but I would certainly recommend this one.

  • B
    2019-04-28 03:42

    Okay, after some critical reading and a debate or two I've come to a different conclusion about this play. Although to just simply sit down and read it can be daunting, to act it out is something completely different. Beaumont was a very intelligent man in that he played with the concepts of satire and parody that his audience wasn't ready for (explaining why this play wasn't well received in the beginning). The citizen and his wife, though frustrating at times, add certain elements to the play that are wonderfully original. The character Rafe is, by far, the best character in the play for all that he represents. And Humphrey! My God, Humphrey. The man only speaks in rhyme, which illutrates to the ridiculousness of the romantic genre and how it is "played out." All in all Beaumont was a critic of the very thing he worked in. It's a tough play to sell, but once you really crack down and read it the gems can be found.

  • Gill
    2019-05-14 00:52

    Brilliant, metatheatrical, several centuries before its time. This is hugely funny a mere four hundred years after Beaumont wrote it and works superbly on stage.

  • Stephanie
    2019-05-26 02:51

    This text was required reading for my Studies in Renaissance Literature course at the University of Utah.Three lines into the play, two outspoken audience members hijack the play and demand a new one, also demanding that the actors incorporate their apprentice, Rafe, into the case. What follows is an absolutely hysterical and absurd forced collaboration of the "old, original" play and the "new one" featuring a grocer turned errant knight. While "Knight" was a terrific failure on the London stage, it is one of my favorite dramatic texts to-do. It's bizarre cast of characters, plagiarized speeches, and patch-work plot appear to be nonsensical, but a close reading will reveal a surprisingly adroit and complex look into the world of Elizabeth boys acting companies,apprenticeship, and class relations.

  • Mandy
    2019-05-07 03:51

    Absolutely ridiculous, like some sort of cross betweenA Midsummer Night's Dream ,Don Quixote , and the parable of the prodigal son. While it's not a masterpiece in terms of language, Beaumont does some really interesting things with style and structure. I was particularly impressed thatThe Knight of the Burning Pestle(which, admittedly, sounds like it's about a knight with gonorrhea) is a play within a play, for the ENTIRE play. I've also read that this play is almost always a hit in performance - no matter the acting skill level or production value - probably because it has the same zany humor of the Pyramus and Thisbe scene inMidsummer . So fun, I wish I could see it staged.

  • Jordan Ivie
    2019-05-26 04:12

    Absolutely brilliant! Beaumont combines some humorous satire, a couple of lovers outwitting an obstinate father, a dash of ridiculous farce, an endearingly affectionate and ridiculous pair of commentators, and a good healthy dose of soul-searching questioning of the barriers between illusion and reality. This play is bust-out-laughing funny, but at the same time can be touching in parts, and I enjoyed it immensely. I just wish there were productions available; I can only imagine how wonderful this would be brought to life!

  • Gabrielle
    2019-04-29 02:50

    This was a funny and very fun play to read. It would be fun to do this in a 3/4 or round -- the action and the audience need to have very little space between. It would probably need some editing in act 2 and 3, but the main story of the couple who goes to the theater and talks the actors into including their servant in the play is a fun way to expand the "Christopher Sly" device from TAMING further.

  • John
    2019-05-09 21:52

    A farcical and highly allusive play that pokes fun of romance on stage; it includes two audience members high-jacking the show and making their apprentice romp around like a knight. There are some funny bits, but the overwhelming levels of farce made it difficult to really get into the work. The play was a flop at the time, and though more contemporary scholars have revived it, I can see how the audience might have not really engaged.

  • Robert Stewart
    2019-05-08 01:11

    I've read quite a number of "city comedies" over the last year or so and I would say this is by far the most enjoyable. And very modern: there's a play within a play, and a third play competing with that. The "citizen" and his wife--members of the audience and very much "of the people"--basically hijack the show. Very meta, and a lot of fun. And this is one 17th century play which doesn't require a lot of work to appreciate.

  • John
    2019-05-20 21:55

    When one reads a play, one gets cheated out of some of the work. Nonetheless, talk about satire at it's finest. I got quite a number of laughs out of this piece and very much enjoyed how much Beaumont poked fun at class, traditional plays, the decorum that came with those plays, gender roles, sex... you name it. I want to see more of Rafe!

  • Cheyenne Chauvin
    2019-05-01 00:55

    Absolutely brilliant. I both read and saw this performed in London. I love the underlying notion that Rafe is a rebellious character through various references to the London apprentice riots of the 1590s and the Mayday riots. Definitely a fun and inciting read.

  • Lora
    2019-05-24 05:10

    So far this looks fun, but I really wish I could see it acted out. It looks way more fun that way.This turned out to be a mild diversion as a read. Laced with innuendo, which is pretty typical of the 1600s, it also had a decent amount of satire and other humor. Over all, it was ok.

  • Deb
    2019-05-22 02:54

    On the MA exam reading list. I approached with the boredom associated w/ those who don't really enjoy this era. I was pleasantly surprised. Rather witty and very "meta"A nice surprise from long ago...

  • Julia
    2019-05-22 21:44

    I liked that this was a play within a play. It definitely needs to be seen in performance, as it's sometimes hard to distinguish the Citizen and Citizen's wife as separate spectators of the inner play.

  • Elisheva Rina
    2019-05-24 00:50

    Meta-drama humor from Shakespeare's contemporary, Beaumont. A rather confusing plot, but funny at times.

  • Libby
    2019-05-11 22:54

    This brilliant, silly, centuries-ahead-of-its-time play should be printed in an edition with Thomas Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49."

  • Sara
    2019-05-13 00:02

    If this play had a face I would punch it.

  • Susanne Gruss
    2019-05-02 21:05

    Loved this - very funny, feels incredibly modern (and works great on stage, too).

  • Laura Collins
    2019-05-03 22:45

    *3.5 starsThis was actually a really funny read and even though I had to read it for coursework I ended up really enjoying it! I don't think I misunderstood tooo much!

  • sologdin
    2019-05-23 04:52

    annoying petit-bourgeois theatre-goer demands that actors accommodate his picayune demands. very amusing.