Furious Soldiers and Mad Lovers: Plotting Fletcher and The History of Cardenio

  • Vimala C. Pasupathi


Notions of John Fletcher’s “essential” dramatic style have circulated since the seventeenth century; in the 1647 Folio, Fletcher’s friends and near-contemporaries spoke of his distinct “sound,” deeming it “So his owne,/That twas his marke,” and claiming that “he was by it known.”1 Sir Aston Cokaine invoked Fletcher’s “own unequal[e]d Language” (a3r), a form so exemplary that Robery Staplyton claimed: “The Native may learne English from his lines” (a4r). Even before the publication of the Folio, John Ford had claimed that any poet seeking “Fame by desert…/ Must write like Fletcher”—that is to say, with the imitable style and authentic voice invoked in the 1637 quarto of The Elder Brother, whose Prologue assured readers that they would be able to “heare Fletcher in it.”2


Female Character False Friend Authentic Voice Neate Expression Dramatic Work 
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  1. 10.
    See Vimala Pasupathi, “Shakespeare, Fletcher, and the Gain O’The Martialist,” Shakespeare 7 (2011): 297–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 15.
    On Shakespeare’s tragic Jacobean soldiers, see Paul Jorgensen, Shakespeare’s Military World (Berkley: University of California Press, 1956)Google Scholar
  3. and Richard Ide, Possessed with Greatness: The Heroic Tragedies of Chapman and Shakespeare (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980).Google Scholar

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© Terri Bourus and Gary Taylor 2013

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  • Vimala C. Pasupathi

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