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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26188

Title: A Critical Modern-spelling Edition of John Fletcher's "Rule a Wife and Have a Wife"
Authors: Hicklin, Christopher
Advisor: Thomson, Leslie
Department: English
Keywords: John Fletcher
Renaissance Drama
Issue Date: 15-Feb-2011
Abstract: This dissertation is a fully-annotated scholarly edition of John Fletcher's 1624 play <i>Rule a Wife and Have a Wife</i>. Fletcher's comedy of intrigue about two couples who wed under false pretenses was his final non-collaborative play and represents the culmination of his achievements as a comic dramatist. It has received surprisingly little attention for a play that remained a staple of English and American theatres into the 1860s. The introduction to this edition is the most comprehensive study of the play to date. The critical examination of the domestic politics and structural patterning of the play argues that <i>Rule a Wife and Have a Wife</i> presents marriages that become protective spheres to shield spouses from the twin depredations of economic necessity and tyrannical power once the spouses have given up the urge to dominate each other. A section on Fletcher's language and style explores what Dryden praised as its imitation of the "conversation of gentlemen." The study of Fletcher's source material considers not only the two Spanish narratives he adapted, but also the resources of the King's Men and their theatres which influenced the play's composition. The introduction then contextualizes the play in its initial historical moment and the ways it reacts to England's preparations for war and the marriage negotiations for Prince Charles. The final two sections of the introduction examine the play's circulation in print and on stage. The stage history is supplemented by two appendices: a calendar of nearly 800 known performances and a collation of changes made in acting editions of the play. A recognition of the style and ubiquity of <i>Rule a Wife and Have a Wife</i> will aid scholars in understanding continuities of taste and repertoire in English drama.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26188
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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