By IAN SCOTT-KILVERT (EDITOR)
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Extra resources for BRITISH WRITERS, Volume 2
With these plays he seems to have succeeded in creating a new mode of drama, replacing "musty fopperies" with lively, sharp plays peculiarly adapted to the talents and limitations of the boy actors and, probably, to the taste of the private theater audiences. He found, ranging from loathing to friendly chivying. In all this Marston was showing his virtuosity, but underlying the display of a range of satiric stances, there lies a quality peculiarly characteristic of Marston himself. The main attack of his satires is on various forms of lust, and much of his language has a violence of tone that prompted a sharp comment in the anonymous academic play, The Return from Parnassus, part II (1606), on the /ygreat battering ram of his terms/' but the violence seems to mark a powerful sense of revulsion at times, a melancholy that has been seen as a dark, pessimistic weariness falling little short of despair.
At these small, indoor, so-called "private" theaters, patrons paid much higher entrance charges than at the large, open-air public theaters, and they seem to have constituted a more sophisticated audience. Most of Marston's plays are comedies or tragicomedies with some satiric content, although he attempted to write an ambitious tragedy in Sophonisba (1606). He wrote no more after 1608, when he sold the share he had held in the company of the Queen's Revels since 1604, and in 1609 he was ordained.
Selected Plays of Thomas Middleton (London, 1915), includes Michaelmas Term, A Trick to Catch the Old One, A Fair Quarrel, and The Changeling; K. , Thomas Middleton: Three Plays (London, 1977), includes A Chaste Maid, Women Beware Women, and The Changeling; D. L. , Selected Plays of Thomas Middleton (London, 1978), includes A Mad World, My Masters, A Chaste Maid, Women Beware Women, and The Changeling. III. SEPARATE PLAYS. ) Michaelmas Term (London, 1607), comedy, in R. Levin, ed. (London, 1966) and G.