The Maiden's Holiday: Marlowe's Lost Play

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


On 8 April, 1654, the publisher Humphrey Moseley paid sixpence to the Stationers' Company. This was one of a number of transactions he conducted that day, the particular purpose of this one being to secure the sole right to print a play from manuscript: A comedie called The Maidens Holiday by Christopher Marlow & John Day. As far as is known, Moseley never exercised the right bought by his sixpence, and the play remained unprinted. The same play, and possibly the same manuscript, is glimpsed again more than fifty years later in the library of the antiquarian John Warburton, where - allegedly! - it fell into the hands of his cook. With misplaced thriftiness, she used the manuscripts of Warburton's library for kindling and as lining paper for pies. Nothing of the manuscript survived her recycling, and nothing of the play has been seen since. "The Maiden's Holiday" remains, then, a lost play: but it is one with an explicit early attribution to Marlowe, indeed, the only such lost play. This essay explores what we can say about that lost play on the basis of these very fragmentary records.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChristopher Marlowe, Theatrical Commerce, and the Book Trade
EditorsRoslyn L. Knutson, Kirk Melnikoff
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Print)9781107126206
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2018


  • Christopher Marlowe
  • Lost plays
  • John Day


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