Sensuality, Spirit, and Society in The Dutch Courtesan and Lording Barry’s The Family of Love (1608)


  • Sophie Tomlinson University of Auckland



John Marston; Dutch Courtesan


This essay stages a dialogue between The Dutch Courtesan and the comparatively neglected The Family of Love by Lording Barry. It discusses the differing ways Marston and Barry deploy the Familist fellowship that had recently come under fire from England's reigning monarch. I juxtapose the dramatists' representation of sensuality and spirituality across a broad range of characters. By attending to their shared preoccupation with the humoral, excretory body, the essay proposes that these comedies leave us with divergent social visions.

Author Biography

Sophie Tomlinson, University of Auckland

Sophie Tomlinson ( is senior lecturer in English and drama at the University of Auckland. She has won acclaim since 1992 for her focus on women's participation in theatrical culture over the seventeenth century, shedding new light on drama written for the professional stages, on court and closet drama, and drama by women. She has published Women on Stage in Stuart Drama (Cambridge, 2005), and edited Fletcher's The Wild-Goose Chase (1621) (Revels Plays Companion Library, 2006). An edition of Barry, The Family of Love, for Revels Plays is near completion. Her current project is on early modern theatre and opera.






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