Old Fortunatus by Thomas Dekker (Manchester University Press, 2019) – Associate Professor David McInnis, Associate Professor of English and Theatre Studies
With its fantasy of magical travel and inexhaustible riches, Thomas Dekker’s Old Fortunatus is the quintessential early modern journeying play. The adventures of Fortunatus and his sons, aided by a magical purse and wishing-hat, offers the period’s most overt celebration of the pleasures of travel, as well as a sustained critique of the dangers of intemperance and prodigality. Written following a period of financial difficulty for Dekker, the play is also notable for its fascination with the symbolic, mercantile and ethical uses of gold.
This Revels Plays edition is the first fully annotated, single-volume critical edition of Old Fortunatus. It offers scholarly discussion of the play’s performance and textual history, including attention to the German version printed and performed in the early seventeenth century. It provides a long overdue critical reappraisal of this unjustly neglected play.