Richard Brome was the leading comic playwright of 1630s London. Starting his career as a manservant to Ben Jonson, he wrote a string of highly successful comedies which were influential in British theatre long after Brome's own playwriting career was cut short by the closure of the theatres in 1642.
This book offers the first full-length chronological account of Brome's life and works, drawing on a wide range of recently rediscovered manuscript sources. It traces the early hostility to Brome from those who wrote him off as a mere servant; his continuing struggles with plague closures, contract disputes and theatrical takeover bids; and his literary relationships with Jonson, Shakespeare and others. Each of the surviving plays is discussed in relation to its social and political context, and its sense of place. A final chapter reviews Brome's enduring stageworthiness into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the most recent Brome revivals. -- .
Matthew Steggle is Lecturer in English at Sheffield Hallam University -- .
List of illustrations Acknowledgements List of abbreviations Introduction 1. The experiences of a flunkey: c.1590-1632 2. Scenes for virtue and nobility: 1632-5 3. With his best art and industry: 1635-6 4. The hard sand and dangerous time: 1636-7 5. The players going to law with their poets: 1637-9 6. My most deserving friend: 1640-2 7. This cuckoo time: 1642-52 8. Reception: 1653-2003 Appendix - Richard Brome in legal records Bibliography Index -- .