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Stage directions: Shakespeare's use of the map

Hollis, Gavin Russell (2000)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This study argues that sixteenth-century map culture is a source for Shakespeare's plays, and that his use of the map, as cartographic language and as stage property, is a factor in understanding Shakespeare's representation of power. Maps empower their users and their makers, at the expense of those who are mapped those who live on the land represented. However, the stage counters the map's effectiveness as a tool of power. In Shakespeare's plays, characters using the map to achieve power fail, partly because of their inability to read maps and use them properly, and partly because the map and the stage's relationship with the space they represent is different. Land is staged refusing to yield to the map's attempts to break it down, and those living on the land are staged resisting their inclusion or exclusion from it.
Plays and issues discussed include the mis-use of the map in The Second Tetralogy, the weaknesses of cartography and stage-mapping in Richard III and King Lear, the presence of death on the map in relation to Antony and Cleopatra, and mapping body-space in Cymbeline.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Humanities
Department:Shakespeare Institute
Subjects:PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
PR English literature
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:3123
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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