Charles Fitz-Geffry and the ‘War of the Theaters’

  • James Doleman Brescia University College


A number of Latin epigrams in Charles Fitz-Geffry’s Affaniae (1601) reflect on the ‘Wars of the Theatres’ of the period. As with most epigrams, individuals are masked by fictional names, but identification is possible through the supplementary evidence of the manuscript Latin letters of Fitz-Geffry’s friend, Degory Wheare, and by comparison with other epigrams. In particular, biting epigrams are directed against John Weever, under the name Fabrianus, and Thomas Bastard. A third epigram is directed towards John Marston, and the correspondence of Wheare shows an awareness of the tensions between Marston and Jonson in early 1601. Overall, the epigrams and correspondence manifest the sensitive dynamics of personal attacks within the English literary sphere at this time, and the resultant care (and even self-censorship) as a poet moved toward print.