London and The Hague, 1638: Performing quacks at court

Katritzky, M. A. (2020). London and The Hague, 1638: Performing quacks at court. In: Katritzky, M. A. and Drábek, Pavel eds. Transnational Connections in Early Modern Theatre. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 114–138.


The final tournament entry of a court festival of February 1638 at The Hague: “The knights of the dromedary and alchemists,” features actual farces and plays performed by a genuine troupe of street charlatans, and noblemen disguised as named healers. Drawing on English and Dutch images, and influences from London and European court festival, the Parisian stage, Spanish literature, and Italian commedia dell’arte, many previously disregarded in this context, this article considers the itinerant charlatan, quack or street healer as a theme in early modern court festival, with particular reference to the six named quacks of the 1638 tournament entry.

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