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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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‘New Plays resemble Bubbles, we must own’

‘New Plays resemble Bubbles, we must own’

Staging the Stock Market, 1719–20

(p.179) ‘New Plays resemble Bubbles, we must own’
Comedy and Crisis

Inger Leemans

Liverpool University Press

This chapter addresses how finance and the theatre became interwoven in the early eighteenth century, with the theatre functioning as a platform for the production and dissemination of financial knowledge. The eighteenth-century theatre in Amsterdam and London served as a source of news, and political and social commentary. The Bubble plays of 1720, and especially Langendijk’s comedies, helped to conceptualize stock trading by analyzing and illustrating its specific dynamics. This essay also addresses differences between the nations that participated in the Bubble and argues that, while in the Netherlands the public generally approved of stock trade, few stepped forward in England to defend openly the new securities market or those responsible for financial governance. Likewise, French plays of the period tended to focus criticism on John Law’s new system of paper currency, rather than attempting to explain it as did their Dutch counterparts. This essay discusses such cultural distinctions in detail, with Langendijk’s plays as central source texts, arguing that, notwithstanding the views of economic and financial historians, who see the long-term economic impact of the Dutch Bubble of 1720 as minimal, the cultural impact of the Bubble left a lasting mark in the Netherlands.

Keywords:   Theatre history, Pieter Langendijk, Dutch Republic, Amsterdam stage, English stage, Stock market

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