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Title: Contested green spaces on the early modern stage, 1590-1634
Author: Roesle, Philippe
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 6850
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis analyses the production of contested green space on the early modern stage. I argue that Elizabethan and Jacobean playwrights staged subjective versions of green space which responded differently to cultural and political unease. Collectively, early modern dramatists produced a sedimented English countryside whose layers addressed dissonant interpretations of contemporary ideological struggles and debates. Representations of green space on the early modern stage negotiate both the political status quo and its alternatives; the stage represented the countryside in ways which both the court and those beyond hegemony wanted it to look like. In order to discuss fully the multivocal dimensions of green space, I offer a topological reading of spatial representation on the early modern stage. Contrary to the usual topographical analyses performed by critics of early modern drama, my topological reading focuses on spatial interrelation, configuration and complexity, registering multiplicities and contradictions within the social production of specifically homeomorphic green spaces. Across the four chapters, I discuss the negotiation of a specific element of contemporary discourse in a distinctly contested theatrical green space. I demonstrate in Chapter One how theatres imagined Robin Hood’s northern greenwood as both Protestant and residually Catholic. In Chapter Two, I interrogate the ways in which playwrights debated the benefits and dangers of agricultural innovation in rural England. In Chapter Three, I argue that Arcadian green spaces represented both a monarchic and an alternative Spenserian ideal. Lastly, in Chapter Four, I analyse how early modern drama complicated understandings of English nationhood by producing contested Welsh green space as both civil and barbaric. The stages’ collective output produced contested green spaces which dramatists layered with models of and models for reality, simultaneously containing and exploring the period’s discursive concerns over religion, consumption, royal succession and nationhood. Representations of green space on the early modern stage performed specific, if contradictory, conflicting and heterogeneous functions. The theatres’ production of contested green space negotiated the tensions and competing positions within Elizabethan and Jacobean socio‐political debates.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available