The Dutch Courtesan (Fountainwell drama texts,7)

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9780050015674: The Dutch Courtesan (Fountainwell drama texts,7)

Although it was written shortly before or after Queen Elizabeth's death
in 1603 and performed by the boy company at Blackfriars, this play
foreshadows the light ladies and callous gallants of Restoration
comedy. Passion is a scourge, love is humiliation, and friends might as
well be enemies. Freevill discards his concubine Franceschina and, for
a joke, sets his straight-laced friend Malheureux on to her, who falls
for her and promises to carry out her revenge on Freevill by killing
him. The play in the theatre, which is fully imagined in the
introduction to this edition, impresses on the audience the
spuriousness of rigid moral persuasions, especially when they are tried
by fits of sexual passion.

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About the Author:

John Marston (c. 1575-1634) was an English playwright who wrote thirteen plays between 1599 and 1609, his two finest being the tragicomedy The Malcontent (1604) and the comedy The Dutch Courtesan (1605). He is noted for his violent imagery and his preoccupation with mankind's failure to uphold Christian virtues. Other plays include the tragedies Antonio's Revenge and Antonio and Mellida (both 1599) and the comedy What You Will (1601). At the turn of the century Marston became involved in the so-called war of the theatres, a prolonged feud with his rival Ben Jonson. Jonson repeatedly satirized him in such plays as Every Man Out of His Humour (1599) and The Poetaster (1601), while Marston replied in Satiromastix (with Thomas Dekker; 1601). Their squabble ended in time for the two to collaborate with George Chapman on the ill-fated Eastward Ho! (1605), which resulted in all three authors being briefly imprisoned. Marston was later imprisoned for offending James I with his tragedy The Insatiate Countess (1610). After his release he took holy orders and wrote no more plays.

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