ABOUT THIS BOOK
A large part of Shakespeare’s enduring appeal comes from his engagement with contemporary social and political issues. The modern practice of territory as a political concept and technology that emerged during Shakespeare’s life did not elude his profound political-geographical imagination. In Shakespearean Territories, Stuart Elden reveals through close readings of the plays just how much Shakespeare’s unique historical position, combined with his imagination and political understanding, can teach us about territory. Throughout his prolific career as a playwright, Shakespeare dramatized a world filled with technological advances in measuring, navigation, cartography, military operations, and surveying. His tragedies and histories—and even several of his comedies—open up important ways of thinking about strategy, economy, the law, and the colonial, providing critical insight into a significant juncture in history. Shakespeare’s plays explore many territorial themes: from the division of the kingdom in King Lear to the relations among Denmark, Norway, and Poland in Hamlet; from the Salic Law in Henry V to questions of disputed land and the politics of banishment in Richard II. Elden traces how Shakespeare developed a nuanced understanding of the complicated concept and practice of territory and, more broadly, the political-geographical relations between people, power, and place.
A meticulously researched study of over a dozen classic plays, Shakespearean Territories will provide new insights for geographers, political theorists and Shakespearean scholars alike.