English dramatist. He is remarkable for his range, which included tragicomedy and pastoral dramas, in addition to comedy and tragedy. He collaborated with Francis Beaumont in some 12 plays, producing, most notably, the tragicomedy Philaster (1610) and The Maid's Tragedy (c. 1611). He is alleged to have collaborated with Shakespeare on The Two Noble Kinsmen and Henry VIII (1613).
Among some 16 plays credited to Fletcher alone are the pastoral drama The Faithful Shepherdess (1610), the tragedy Bonduca (c. 1613–14), The Chances (1617), the tragedy Valentinian (1618), the comedy The Humorous Lieutenant (1619), and the comedies The Pilgrim and The Wild-Goose Chase (both 1621).
Fletcher was born in Rye, Sussex, and was educated at Benet College, Cambridge, but little is known of his life. Other plays resulting from the collaboration with Beaumont include The Scornful Lady (1610), A King and No King (c. 1611), and Thierry and Theodoret (1616), but the pair were credited with a great many more as publishers found that their names on the title page made a good selling line. Of the two, Fletcher is generally reckoned the more fluent and creative, and had a keener sense of ‘theatre’.
He also collaborated with Philip Massinger in several plays, and probably with William Rowley and Thomas Middleton in others. He died of the plague.
Beaumont and Fletcher
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