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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VI. The Drama to 1642, Part Two.

V. Beaumont and Fletcher

§ 8. Massinger’s collaboration with Fletcher

As regards the remaining plays, we have to take account of some other authors, and more especially of Massinger. Massinger is distinguished by a type of verse which has a large proportion of double endings (though far fewer than Fletcher’s), combined with a free distribution of pauses and a free running-on from line to line; he uses a periodic structure of sentence in serious or poetical passages, and inserts parentheses frequently. He can also be traced by a habit of repeating certain favourite phrases and images, and the combination of these characteristic expressions with the metrical and other indications to which we have referred may generally be regarded as decisive evidence of his authorship. The features imported by Massinger into the work which he shares with Fletcher are a more oratorical style of expression, greater moral earnestness and, in particular, a tendency to throw scenes into such a form that they contain pleading both for and against a given thesis. He is stronger than Fletcher in plotting and construction, and it is observable that, in several of the plays in which these two are fellow workers, Massinger supplies a framework which is filled in by Fletcher, whose strength lies in the management of particular scenes rather than in the conduct of the drama as a whole. This seems to be the case, for example, with The False One, The Beggars Bush and The Elder Brother. On the whole, it may be said that considerable injustice has been done to Massinger by the popular ascription of much of his work to Fletcher: several of the best dramas of the collection owe their merit very largely to Massinger.