December 20

This Day in History

Literary

Dec 20, 1579:

John Fletcher is baptized

On this day, playwright John Fletcher is baptized in Sussex, England.

Fletcher was a prodigy who was admitted to Cambridge before he turned 12. His history is unknown between then and 1607, but after 1607 he was engaged in composing his own plays or collaborating closely with Francis Beaumont. Both men contributed prefacing verses to a 1607 version of Volpone by Ben Jonson and soon were producing their own plays for the King's Men and Blackfriars, two companies for which Shakespeare also wrote. Their most successful collaboration was Philaster.

Some of Fletcher's solo projects included The Faithful Shepherdess, The Mad Lover, Women Pleased, and Wild Goose Chase, all produced between 1608 and 1624. Fletcher's plays differ from Shakespeare's in their preference for remote, magical settings; bizarre plotlines; and occasionally inconsistent characters. In 1613, Beaumont married a rich heiress and retired from writing. Fletcher died of the plague in 1625.

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