‘La bella Franceschina’ and Other Foreign Names in Marston’s The Dutch Courtesan
John Marston’s play, The Dutch Courtesan, presents characters with remarkably polyglot names for action set in England. My essay examines this naming practice, attending in particular to the Italian name and background of the 'Dutch' courtesan, Franceschina, familiar to theatre-goers as a traditional character in commedia dell’arte troupes and scenarios. Overall, the essay argues that Marston’s deployment of foreign and polyglot names plays out and extends the ambivalences criticism has identified in the play, and in the genre of city comedy, towards hybridizations springing up in England in response to contemporary mercantile and cross-cultural relations.
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