Mapping Shakespeare’s Britain
in Shakespeare’s histories and counter-histories
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William Shakespeare's choice to organise the opening of his play in marked contrast to King Leir had been prompted by reading an old play newly published. This chapter considers the map in stage and film versions of the play and the map in connection with Elizabethan and Jacobean mapping of England. The map as sign of the kingdom functions as a chorography of Britain; it is the King of Britain who disunites the kingdom. The play Locrine is an account of the first division of Britain, the turning of Brutus' united land into a divided one, a necessary and pragmatic response both to Brutus' imminent death and to the presence of the three sons, Locrine, Albanact and Camber. Thomas of Woodstock is mostly familiar as a supposed source for Shakespeare's Richard II, narrating the events preceding Shakespeare's action.

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