Venice in 'Tis Pity She's a Whore

  • Lisa Hopkins Sheffield Hallam University
Keywords: Ford, Venice, Sannazaro, Sidney, Kenelm Digby,


The Caroline dramatist John Ford, like a number of his contemporaries and predecessors, shows a clear interest in Italy in a number of his works, and his most famous play, ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, is set in Parma, and includes characters who have visited Livorno and Bologna. However at an early stage of the play, while Soranzo is still a suitor for Annabella, we see him alone ‘in his study, reading a book’, which he later tells us contains Jacopo Sannazaro’s encomium on Venice. Soranzo apparently both quotes from this and proposes a rewriting which would praise Annabella rather than Venice. However, the Revels note points out that the lines attributed to Sannazaro have not been identified, and indeed Sannazaro was in fact associated almost exclusively with Naples. This paper proposes some reasons for why Ford might refer to him in this context.