Staging Exchange: Why The Knight of the Burning Pestle Flopped at Blackfriars in 1607
The first performance of Francis Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle at the Blackfriars in 1607 apparently aroused an unexpected upheaval among the audience, according to the publishers of the first printed edition. This essay uses a careful rearrangement and interpretation of textual and biographical evidence to propose a new sociological basis for the play’s reputedly disastrous debut.
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