EARLY MODERN LITERARY GEOGRAPHIES
Oxford University Press
Series Editors: JULIE SANDERS, Newcastle University and
GARRETT A. SULLIVAN, JR., Pennsylvania State University
Early Modern Literary Geographies features innovative research monographs and agenda-setting essay collections that engage with the topics of space, place, landscape and environment. While focused on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English literature, scholarship in this series encompasses a range of disciplines, including geography, history, performance studies, art history, musicology, archaeology and cognitive science. Subjects of inquiry include cartography or chorography; historical phenomenology and sensory geographies; body and environment; mobility studies; histories of travel or perambulation; regional and provincial literatures; urban studies; performance environments; sites of memory and cognition; ecocriticism; and oceanic or new blue studies.
Dan Beaver, Pennsylvania State University
Lesley Cormack, University of Alberta
Stuart Elden, University of Warwick
Steve Hindle, Huntington Library
Bernhard Klein, University of Kent
Andrew McRae, University of Exeter
Steven Mullaney, University of Michigan
Evelyn Tribble, University of Otago
Alexandra Walsham, University of Cambridge
The first volume in the series is Gavin Hollis, The Absence of America: The London Stage, 1576-1642, due out in September 2015.
The Absence of America: the London Stage 1576-1642 examines why early modern drama’s response to English settlement in the New World was muted, even though the so-called golden age of Shakespeare coincided with the so-called golden age of exploration: no play is set in the Americas; few plays treat colonization as central to the plot; a handful features Native American characters (most of whom are Europeans in disguise). However, advocates of colonialism in the seventeenth century denounced playing companies as enemies on a par with the Pope and the Devil. Instead of writing off these accusers as paranoid cranks, this book takes as its starting point the possibility that they were astute playgoers. By so doing we can begin to see the emergence of a “picture of America,” and of the Virginia colony in particular, across a number of plays performed for London audiences: Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair, The Staple of News, and his collaboration with Marston and Chapman, Eastward Ho!; Robert Greene’sOrlando Furioso; Massinger’s The City Madam; Massinger and Fletcher’s The Sea Voyage; Middleton and Dekker’s The Roaring Girl; Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and Fletcher and Shakespeare’s Henry VIII. We can glean the significance of this picture, not only for the troubled Virginia Company, but also for London theater audiences. And we can see that the picture that was beginning to form was, as the anti-theatricalists surmised, often slanderous, condemnatory, and, as it were, anti-American.