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Comedy and CrisisPieter Langendijk, the Dutch, and the Speculative Bubbles of 1720$
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Joyce Goggin and Frans De Bruyn

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789622201

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789622201.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Harlequin Stock-Jobber

Harlequin Stock-Jobber

Chapter:
(p.61) Harlequin Stock-Jobber
Source:
Comedy and Crisis
Author(s):
Joyce Goggin, Merlijn Erken, Frans De Bruyn

Joyce Goggin

Merlijn Erken

Frans De Bruyn

Henk Looijesteijn

Helen J. Paul

Lodewijk Petram

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781789622201.003.0003

This short comic harlequinade is written in the rich and enormously popular theatrical tradition of the Italian commedia dell’arte, imported into the Netherlands via France. Langendijk borrows a range of well-known commedia character types to populate his farce. In a series of twelve scenes he tells the story of Capitano. who plans a voyage to the South Sea (the Mississippi country) to trade in shares. Harlequin, himself a speculator in shares, undertakes to sell Capitano provisions for his voyage. When Capitano discovers that the provisions Harlequin has sold him are nothing but wind-filled bladders and animal guts, a battle ensues between two squadrons armed with inflated pig’s bladders. The cowardly Capitano faints from shock, and Harlequin is taken captive but is set free when he promises to bequeath his paper shares to his captors. The play concludes with Harlequin auctioning off a candle stub, which is handed back and forth between the characters until Gilles, who buys the candle, burns his fingers and drops the stub on a pile of shares that go up flames. The foolish investors are left with nothing, an ending that provides a comic warning to those who risk being burnt by the bubble craze.

Keywords:   Wind trade, Bubbles, Harlequin, Commedia dell’arte, South Sea

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