The Dutch Courtesan

The Dutch Courtesan

The Dutch Courtesan

The Dutch Courtesan

Excerpt

Convincing verbal parallels between The Dutch Courtesan and Florio's translation of Montaigne's Essayes, published in 1603, suggest an anterior limit in dating the play. Although Marston could have seen the translation in manuscript, other evidence argues against that possibility. Grounds exist for inferring from John Hodgets's entry of the play in the Stationers' Register on June 26, 1605, "as yt was latelie presented at the Blacke Fryers," and from the title page of the 1605 quarto, declaring that "IT WAS PLAYD ... by the Children of her Maiesties Reuels," that it was performed no earlier than late 1603 or 1604. Queen Anne's Revels, a successor to Elizabeth's Children of the Chapel Royal, was given its new title by royal patent on February 4, 1604, and in this reorganized company Marston was later known to possess a one-sixth share. If it were originally a Queen's Revels play, then The Dutch Courtesan could hardly have been on the boards earlier than very late in 1603 or early in 1604; before 1603 Marston's associations were with the Children of Paul's rather than with the Children of the Chapel Royal, and it is unlikely that the "book" of the play passed over into possession of an entirely different company. All things considered, E. K. Chambers's designation of 1603-1604 as the date of the play is, as one might expect, judicious; but early 1605 remains a distinct possibility.

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