Thomas Killigrew Criticism - Essay

Alfred Harbage (essay date 1930)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Closet Drama,” in Thomas Killigrew: Cavalier Dramatist, 1612-83, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1930, pp. 203-31.

[In the following chapter from his full-length study of Killigrew, Harbage considers several of the playwright's late works as “closet dramas,” pieces that were meant to be read rather than performed. Indeed, the critic judges them impossible to stage.]

It has been implied from time to time in preceding chapters that Thomas Killigrew was a dramatist with ulterior motives, that he began to write plays as a means of attracting attention to his polite accomplishments and later became interested in the stage for its financial or professional...

(The entire section is 9587 words.)

Montague Summers (essay date 1935)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Thomas Killigrew and the History of the Theatres until the Union, 1682,” in The Playhouse of Pepys, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1935, pp. 65-145.

[In the excerpt below, Summers surveys Killigrew's life, his work as a dramatist, and his activities as a theatrical manager.]

Thomas Killegrevv Maître du Theatre Royal & qui a pour sa conduitte des qualitez excellentes.

—Le Sieur Chappuzeau: L’Europe Vivante, 1667.

Our Author writ nine Plays in his Travells, and two at London; amongst which his Don Thomaso, in two parts, and his...

(The entire section is 15756 words.)

Alfred Harbage (essay date 1936)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “The Courtier Playwrights,” in Cavalier Drama: An Historical and Critical Supplement to the Study of the Elizabethan and Restoration Stage, Russell & Russell, 1964, pp. 93-126.

[In the following excerpt from a work originally published in 1936, Harbage surveys Killigrew's plays, judging them “entertaining for their sheer bravura and unabashed excess.”]

Despite his traffic with drama, [Lodowick] Carlell was an old-fashioned courtier governing his life with a decorum befitting his elegant calling. Other courtly dramatists were younger men, modelled upon a newer ideal of gallantry, matching more nearly the popular conception of the Cavalier. In this...

(The entire section is 2564 words.)

William Van Lennep (essay date 1948)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Thomas Killigrew Prepares His Plays for Production,” in Joseph Quincy Adams Memorial Studies, edited by James G. McManaway, Giles E. Dawson, and Edwin E. Willoughby, The Folger Shakespeare Library, 1948, pp. 803-08.

[In the essay below, Van Lennep examines a copy of the 1664 folio edition of Killigrew's plays that contains revisions and annotations made by the author himself.]

Twenty-six years ago Mr. C. H. Wilkinson, writing about the library of Worcester College, Oxford, listed among the recent acquisitions to that library's fine collection of seventeenth-century drama Thomas Killigrew's own copy of the 1664 folio of his plays, containing numerous...

(The entire section is 2461 words.)

Albert Wertheim (essay date 1969)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Production Notes for Three Plays by Thomas Killigrew,” in Theatre Survey, Vol. X, No. 2, November 1969, pp. 105-13.

[In the following essay, Wertheim asserts that the alterations and observations written in the 1664 folio edition of Killigrew's works “almost certainly” represent the author's notes for productions of the plays.]

Little is known about the productions of Thomas Killigrew's plays before the closing of the theaters, and there is even considerable doubt whether some of them were produced at all.1 During the Interregnum Killigrew lived in exile on the Continent and lacking playhouse, playgoers and actors, nevertheless continued to...

(The entire section is 3659 words.)

Colin Visser (essay date 1978)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “The Killigrew Folio: Private Playhouses and the Restoration Stage,” in Theatre Survey, Vol. XIX, No. 2, November 1978, pp. 119-38.

[In the following essay, Visser argues that the revisions that Killigrew inscribed in the 1664 folio edition of his plays were made to accommodate the newly emerging type of venues, and asserts that the “great interest” of the folio “lies in the relationship it demonstrates between the private playhouses of the early Caroline period, and the public theatres of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century.”]

More than fifty years have elapsed since Worcester College Library, Oxford, acquired Thomas Killigrew's copy of the 1664...

(The entire section is 8100 words.)

William T. Reich (essay date 1980)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Introduction to Claricilla, by Thomas Killigrew: A Critical Edition, Garland Publishing, 1980, pp. 1-92.

[In the excerpt below, Reich provides a broad introduction to Claricilla, surveying such subjects as its date of composition, its performance history, and its genre. He also offers a critical appraisal of the work's literary merit.]


Traditional misconceptions of the character and ability of Thomas Killigrew long prevented realization of his significant contributions to English dramatic history. However, studies by Nicoll, Hotson, and Harbage in the 1920's and 1930's1 established his importance...

(The entire section is 7672 words.)

Martin W. Walsh (essay date 1984)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: “Killigrew's Cap and Bells,” in Theatre Notebook, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 3, 1984, pp. 99-105.

[In the following essay, Walsh assesses the validity of the persistent assertions that Killigrew was literally Charles II's court jester.]

The wit and playwright Thomas Killigrew enjoyed many honours under Charles II. He was a Gentleman of the Bedchamber, a Chamberlain to the Queen, and Master of the Revels. As patentee of the Theatre Royal, he was one of the founders of the Restoration stage. His long friendship with the King both during the Exile and after the Restoration does not, however, account for the rumour that Killigrew held yet another office close to the...

(The entire section is 3289 words.)