The plays of Philip Massinger (1583-1640) have been a focus of controversy since their creation. In their own time, the plays contributed to contemporary arguments about appropriate dramatic language. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries they were crucial to the rediscovery of Renaissance drama outside Shakespeare. Today, they are at the center of recent reevaluation of the politics of seventeenth century theatre.
Martin Garrett's comprehensive collection presents and explains the history of the critical reception to Massinger's work from the early seventeenth to the late nineteenth century. The volume includes extensive selections from the writings of Pepys, Goldsmith, Coleridge, Hazlitt, Lamb, and Swinburne, as well as briefer comments from Scott, Byron, and Keats. Garrett's introduction discusses responses to Massinger's plays by such writers as Boswell and Dickens, and includes an account of the plays' original political and theatrical context.