Francis Kirkman, theatrical historian

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Connor, Francis X.

Connor, F.X. (2022). Francis Kirkman, Theatrical Historian. Huntington Library Quarterly 85(1), 171-196. doi:10.1353/hlq.2022.0009.


The authors staged most frequently during the first decade of the Restoration were John Fletcher, William Shakespeare, and Ben Jonson, codifying the post-Restoration critical history of the English theater around the “triumvirate of wit.” However, patrons also saw plays by nontriumvirate authors, and publishers played an essential role in the formation of the English theatrical canon, notably by issuing catalogs. Francis Kirkman produced two of the most comprehensive and influential play catalogs of the late seventeenth century and can be identified as one of the first British literary figures to take an interest in theater that postdated classical writers but predated the “modern” triumvirate.

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