French Schoolmaster, The

Anon. (before 1662) (ghost play?)

Historical Records

Appended to Francis Kirkman, The Wits (1662): "Courteous Reader, these Books following are sold by Henry Marsh at the Princes Arms in Chancery-Lane". Under "Incomparable Comedies, and Tragedies, written by several Ingenious Authors", Marsh lists items including:

95. That pleasant and merry Comedy, entituled, Gammar Gurtons Needle, acted 100 years ago at C. C. Cambridge. 4.
96. A pleasant Comedy, called, The two merry Milk-maids: by I. C. 4.
97. The Queen of Aragon: a Tragi-Comedy. Fol.
98. The obstinate Lady: a new Comedy, the Scene London, by Sir A. Cockain. 4.
99. The French School-master, a Comedy. 4.

Theatrical Provenance


Probable Genre(s)


Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues


References to the Play

None known

Critical Commentary

"Nothing is known of a play of the name save its advertisement" (Bentley, 5.1338). Bentley also warns that such a play might well postdate 1642. Ralph Leavis, however, proposes that the book meant is actually Claudius Hollyband's The French schoolemaster shewing the true and perfect way of pronouncing the French tongue to the furtherance of those who desire to learn it (London: Thomas Knight, 1660), one of a series of editions of this well-known language manual. The book is in dialogue-form, although it would still seem unscrupulous to call it a comedy.

For What It's Worth

Leavis would seem to me to have killed this one off.

Works Cited

Leavis, Ralph. "Two ghost plays", Notes and Queries 29 (1982): 148.

Site created and maintained by Matthew Steggle, 9 December 2009.