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Montaigne's English JourneyReading the Essays in Shakespeare's Day$
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William M. Hamlin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199684113

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684113.001.0001

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From an English Montaigne to The Dutch Courtesan

From an English Montaigne to The Dutch Courtesan

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(p.95) 4 From an English Montaigne to The Dutch Courtesan
Montaigne's English Journey

William M. Hamlin

Oxford University Press

The Dutch Courtesan, John Marston's city comedy from 1605, is the English Renaissance play most deeply indebted to Montaigne's Essays. This chapter examines Marston's play from the perspective of a cultural equivalency that Marston posits between prostitutes and translations: both are ‘common’, ‘false’, and ‘adulterated’. Showing how Marston engages in an extended and complex act of literary appropriation, this chapter argues that Marston's reliance upon Montaigne entails significant shifts in our understanding of the moral dynamics of the play, particularly regarding Freevill, its presumptive hero.

Keywords:   Montaigne, Marston, sexuality, prostitution, translation, city comedy, Renaissance readership, reception, The Dutch Courtesan

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