Haunted purgatory : Boccaccio's Decameron 3.8 as an eighteenth-century afterpiece

Author: Krajník, Filip
Source document: Theory and Practice in English Studies. 2021, vol. 10, iss. 1, pp. 49-62
  • ISSN
The present article addresses the issue of intertextuality of the English theatre of the long Restoration period (1660–1737), using Benjamin Griffin's farce The Humours of Purgatory (1716) as a case study. Although The Humours of Purgatory clearly employs a then popular tale from Boccaccio's Decameron, the study argues that, especially during the play's production, a number of other factors (some of which were beyond the realm of the text) entered the referential framework of the piece, making it virtually impossible to talk about a single source and its straightforward adaptation or a clear-cut genealogy of the work. Employing Marvin Carlson's concept of ghosting (or "haunting"), the study shows how elements of various works from both literary and theatre cultures of the time participated in complex and shifting intertextual networks, with multiple links and relations between their individual members. From the analysis it also transpires that the early eighteenth-century farce was an integral and valuable part of English theatre culture of the time, one that – along with other "lesser" or "popular" theatre forms that helped to shape the performance tradition of the period – deserves more systematic academic attention.
  • This article was supported by the Czech Science Foundation project GA19–07494S, "English Theatre Culture 1660–1737"
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