Despite his significant influence as a courtier, diplomat, playwright and theatre manager, Thomas Killigrew (1612-1683) remains a comparatively elusive and neglected figure. The original essays in this interdisciplinary volume shine new light on a singular, contradictory Englishman 400 years after his birth. They increase our knowledge and deepen our understanding not only of Killigrew himself, but of seventeenth-century dramaturgy, and its complex relationship to court culture and to evolving aesthetic tastes. The first book on Killigrew since 1930, this study re-examines the significant phases of his life and career: the little-known playwriting years of the 1630s; his long exile during the 1640s and 1650s, and its personal, political and literary repercussions; and the period following the Restoration, when, with Sir William Davenant, he enjoyed a monopoly of the London stage. These fresh accounts of Killigrew build on the recent resurgence of interest in royalists and the royalist exile, and underscore literary scholars' continued fascination with the Restoration stage. In the process, they question dominant assumptions about neatly demarcated seventeenth-century chronological, geographic and cultural boundaries. What emerges is a figure who confounds as often as he justifies traditional labels of dilettante, cavalier wit and swindler.
Philip Major teaches English at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is also editor of the collection Literatures of Exile in the English Revolution and its Aftermath, 1640-1690, and author of Writings of Exile in the English Revolution and Restoration.
'A timely and long-overdue reassessment of Killigrew as dramatist and theatre practitioner, this study takes full advantage of recent scholarship on the period, literary, social, historical, and theatrical. The essays situate Killigrew in the context of Charles II's court both in exile and after its return to power. What impresses is how the psychological and emotional consequences of existing in exile are sensitively examined in relation to their impact on Killigrew’s creativity.' Richard Allen Cave, General Editor of Richard Brome Online 'Major and his fellow authors revitalise the discussion on Killigrew, closing ... the door on Killigrew's (negative) legacy and opening the door for more exciting research into the more important topic of his influences on Restoration theatre.' Parergon '[An] impressive volume with ... fascinatingly thick descriptions of many worlds.' Review of English Studies 'In reading this fascinating and diverse collection one is forced to reconsider received opinion of Killigrew's work and character.' SHARP News 'This fine collection of essays on Thomas Killigrew is long overdue. ... highly recommended for anyone interested in the theatrical culture of the 1630s and the first two decades of the Restoration.' Renaissance Quarterly