The Knight of the Burning Pestle
  • Publication Date: November 29, 2022
  • ISBN: 9781554815197 / 1554815193
  • 228 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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The Knight of the Burning Pestle

  • Publication Date: November 29, 2022
  • ISBN: 9781554815197 / 1554815193
  • 228 pages; 5½" x 8½"

This volume presents a fresh new edition of the most important play by one of Shakespeare’s most creative contemporaries. Francis Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle is a free-wheeling, satirical romp through the world of early modern theatre. Hilarious, outrageous, and unpredictable, Beaumont’s comedy confounded its first audiences but has since been recognized as a singular comedic gem from the golden age of English playmaking.

Todd Pettigrew’s new Broadview Edition provides an engaging and up-to-date introduction to the play, a clean, modern edition of the text, and detailed annotations. A rich selection of historical appendices provides additional ways to understand the play’s complex literary allusions and cultural contexts.


“This excellent edition of The Knight of the Burning Pestle is ideal for use in the classroom, the theatre, and the study. Todd H.J. Pettigrew’s smart and accessible introduction locates Beaumont’s popular comedy within the context of early modern theatrical conventions, emphasizing the many ways in which it deploys satire to complicate and challenge familiar dramatic tropes and structures. Convenient accounts of the playwright’s biography and of the authorship, dating, and reception history of the play are included, and the text itself is thoughtfully and clearly glossed. Most excitingly, the volume’s rich appendices include a fascinating array of intertexts for the play, including excerpts from early modern romances, accounts of theatrical and medical practices, and discussions about tobacco use.” — Jessica Slights, Acadia University

Francis Beaumont: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

The Knight of the Burning Pestle

Appendix A: Knights to Remember

  • 1. From The History of Palmerin D’Oliva (1581)
  • 2. From Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (1605)

Appendix B: The Theatre

  • 1. From Thomas Dekker, The Gull’s Hornbook (1609)
  • 2. From William Shakespeare, Macbeth (1606)
  • 3. From Thomas Heywood, The Four Prentices of London (1592)

Appendix C: Surgeons, Surgery, and Syphilis

  • 1. From William Clowes, Morbus Gallicus (1579)
  • 2. From John Cotta, A Short Discovery (1612)

Appendix D: “This stinking Tobacco”

  • 1. From John Beaumont, The Metamorphosis of Tobacco (1602)
  • 2. From James I, A Counterblaste to Tobacco (1604)
  • 3. From Tarlton’s Jests (1611)

Works Cited and Select Bibliography

Todd H.J. Pettigrew is Professor of English at Cape Breton University. He is the author of Shakespeare and the Practice of Physic (Delaware, 2007) and the senior editor of The Major Works of John Cotta (Brill, 2018).