Early Modern Literary Geographies – call for book proposals for Oxford University Press series

The conference I attended in California last weekend was linked to a book series with Oxford University Press. I’ve shared details of this before, but it was a while ago, and the first volume is now published, so here is the description again.


Early Modern Literary Geographies

Oxford University Press

Series Editors: Julie Sanders, Newcastle University and Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr, Pennsylvania State University.

Influenced by the work of cultural and human geographers, literary scholars have started to attend to the ways in which early modern people constructed their senses of the world out of interactions among places, spaces, and embodied practices.  Early Modern Literary Geographies will feature innovative research monographs and agenda-setting essay collections that partake of this “spatial turn.”  The term “literary geographies” is to be understood capaciously: we invite submissions on any form of early modern writing that engages with the topics of space, place, landscape and environment.  Although English literature is at its centre, Early Modern Literary Geographies will feature scholarship that abuts a range of disciplines, including geography, history, performance studies, art history, musicology, archaeology and cognitive science.  Subjects of inquiry might 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.

Advisory Board:

Stuart Elden, Professor of Political Theory and Geography, University of Warwick

Steve Hindle, W. M. Keck Foundation Director of Research, Huntington Library

Bernhard Klein, Professor of English, University of Kent

Andrew McRae, Professor of English, University of Exeter

Evelyn Tribble, Donald Collie Chair of English, University of Otago

Alexandra Walsham, Professor of Modern History, University of Cambridge

Lesley Cormack, Dean of Arts, University of Alberta

Dan Beaver, Associate Professor of History, Penn State University

Steven Mullaney, Associate Professor of English, University of Michigan

Enquiries to: julie.sanders@ncl.ac.uk and gas11@psu.edu

The first volume in the series is Gavin Hollis, The Absence of America: The London Stage, 1576-1642.


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 FairThe 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.

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