Shakespeare and the Geography of Difference

Shakespeare and the Geography of Difference

3.33 (3 ratings by Goodreads)
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In this engaging book, John Gillies explores Shakespeare's geographic imagination, and discovers an intimate relationship between Renaissance geography and theatre, arising from their shared dependence on the opposing impulses of taboo-laden closure and hubristic expansiveness. Dr Gillies shows that Shakespeare's images of the exotic, the 'barbarous, outlandish or strange', are grounded in concrete historical fact: to be marginalised was not just a matter of social status, but of belonging, quite literally, to the margins of contemporary maps. Through an examination of the icons and emblems of contemporary cartography, Dr Gillies challenges the map-makers' overt intentions, and the attitudes and assumptions that remained below the level of consciousness. His study of map and metaphor raises profound questions about the nature of a map, and of the connections between the semiology of a map and that of the theatre.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 308 pages
  • 151 x 228 x 19mm | 482g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 20 Halftones, unspecified
  • 0521458536
  • 9780521458535
  • 1,966,074

Table of contents

1. Mapping the other: Vico, Shakespeare and the geography of difference; 2. Of 'voyages and exploration: geography: maps'; 3. Theatres of the world; 4. 'The open worlde': the exotic in Shakespeare; 5. The frame of the new geography.
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Review quote

'[An] absorbing and challenging book.' John Scattergood, Theatre Research International "The book as a whole has high suggestive value and may prove to be a seedbed for other useful studies." Sewanee Review "John Gillies's idea of 'poetic geography'--a kind of historicized phenomenology of space--is compelling; it enables him to take what might otherwise appear to be unrelated fragments--maps, the metaphors used in the titles and prefaces of Renaissance atlases, isolated turns of phrase in Shakespeare and other literary texts--and construct a resonant account of a whole, complex mental universe." Stephen Greenblatt "Shakespeare and the Geography of Difference, John Gillies's book on the Renaissance fascination with wide-ranging and marvelous phenomena, is itself wide-ranging and marvelous, energized by the contact between the disciplines of cartography, geography, anthropology, and literary criticism." Katherine Eisaman Maus, SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 "Shakespeareans who come to Gillie's book for new interpretations of familiar plays will find their due reward, but those who stay around for the map sections will learn even more and will have more fun in the process." Shakespeare Quarterly "The particular spin that Gillies puts on this material is to treat geography, especially where cartography is concerned, as a poetic rather than a scientific activity....Gillies's book will stand as a worthwhile contemporary supplement to works like Cawley's and to E.G.R. Taylor's pioneering studies of Tudor and Stuart geography, and as a useful corrective to current readings of Renaissance colonialism that define "context" much more narrowly that Gillies does." David Read, Modern Philosophy
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