The Insatiate Countess, William Barksted’s Hiren, the Fair Greek, and the Children of the King’s Revels

  • Charles Cathcart Open University


This essay examines the activity through which the appropriations of William Barksted’s Hiren, the Fair Greek entered the dialogue of The Insatiate Countess. The essay argues that Hiren is a more substantial source for The Insatiate Countess than has been supposed, that The Dumb Knight and The Turk also draw from Hiren, and that Barksted’s narrative verse displays a tendency to use phrases previously deployed by John Marston. The essay considers the implications of these claims and suggests that one explanation for the striking verse register of The Insatiate Countess is that it features Marstonian diction shorn of Marstonian self-consciousness.

Author Biography

Charles Cathcart, Open University

Charles Cathcart ( is an honorary associate in English at the Open University.