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The closest Shakespeare comes to depicting an archaeological excavation is the clearing of a space for Ophelia’s grave. Hamlet looks on (with Horatio), appalled at the matter-of-factness with which the two clownish gravediggers set about their task: skulls ‘knocked about the mazard with a sexton’s spade ... Did these bones cost no more the breeding but to play at loggats

in Finding Shakespeare’s New Place

to be unearthed by literary archaeology, there’s bountiful evidence that he and his contemporary dramatists (like all writers since Genesis) modelled many of their characters on lovers, friends, and enemies. Frances Trollope (1799–1863), a writer and social critic before her time who skewered Americans’ manners in 1823 and Parisians’ in 1835, said of the way she constructed

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind
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Spenser, Donne, and the trouble of periodization

social, political, and intellectual pressures of the time. To what extent should we consider the political and intellectual unrest of the late sixteenth century as a crisis of poetic imagination? Where do Spenser’s and Donne’s reactions to this crisis coincide, and where do they diverge? What insights might be gained from juxtaposing two poets so apparently unlike one another for comparison rather than contrast? How might this juxtaposition change our understanding of each poet individually? Reading Donne in the context of Spenser not only modifies our view of Donne as

in Spenser and Donne
Spenser, Sidney, and the early modern chivalric code

Mulcaster, Ascham, and others … had propagated a myth of social mobility, of a career open to talents, with ‘learning’ as the ladder by which the heights might be attained. In effect, the norm they established resolved the old debate of whether the active or the contemplative life were preferable by combining the two, though in such a way as to give the active life priority. (68

in The early Spenser, 1554–80
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Spenser, Donne, and the philosophic poem

emerges from the notion of ‘encounter’ itself. In a now-famous address, Mary Louise Pratt evoked the notion of ‘contact zones’ – ‘social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power’ – as opposed to the more cohesive, egalitarian, and stable notion of ‘community’. 45 Quickly absorbed into theoretical vocabulary across a range of fields, the idea of the ‘contact zone’ as a shifting locus of encounter, often identified with trading posts and border cities, is now ubiquitous in discussing early

in Spenser and Donne

This volume considers transnational and intercultural aspects of early modern theatre, drama and performance. Its twelve chapters, loosely cosmographically grouped into West, North and South, compose a complex image of early modern theatre connections as a socially, economically, politically and culturally realised tissue of links, networks, influences and paths of exchange. With particular attention to itinerant performers, court festival, and the significant black, Muslim and Jewish impact, they combine disciplines and methods to place Shakespeare and his contemporaries in the wider context of early performance culture in English, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Czech and Italian speaking Europe. Their shared methodological approach examines transnational connections by linking abstract notions of wider theatre historical significance to concrete historical facts: archaeological findings, archival records, visual artefacts, and textual evidence. Crucial to the volume is this systematic yoking of theories with surviving historical evidence for the performative event – whether as material object, text, performative routine, theatregrams, rituals, festivities, genres, archival evidence or visual documentation. This approach enables it to explore the infinite variety of early modern performance culture by expanding the discourse, questioning the received canon, and rethinking the national restrictions of conventional maps to reveal a theatre that truly is without borders.

An archaeological biography

This book provides an abundance of fresh insights into Shakespeare's life in relation to his lost family home, New Place. It first covers the first 6,000 years of the site, from its prehistoric beginnings through its development into a plot within the economic context of early medieval Stratford-upon-Avon, and the construction of the first timber-framed building. The book then describes the construction and distinctive features of Hugh Clopton's brick-and-timber house, the first New Place. Stratford-upon-Avon gave Shakespeare a deeply rooted love of family, loyal neighbours and friends, and although he came to enjoy a prominent social standing there, he probably had little or no time at all for its puritanical side. The book provides a cultural, religious and economic context for Shakespeare's upbringing; education, work, marriage, and early investments up to his son, Hamnet's death, and his father, John Shakespeare, being made a gentleman. It discusses the importance of New Place to Shakespeare and his family during the nineteen years he owned it and spent time there. The book also takes us to just beyond the death of Shakespeare's granddaughter, Elizabeth, Lady Bernard, the last direct descendant of Shakespeare to live in the house. It further gives an account of James Halliwell's acquisition of the site, his archaeology and how New Place has become an important focus for the local community, not least during the 'Dig for Shakespeare'.

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Finding Shakespeare’s New Place

with his family. His work commitments called him to London, but probably never for very long: New Place was too large and socially significant a house, and his entire family was based there. At least, that is the picture that our archaeological investigations have led us to consider. That is why we have subtitled this book ‘An archaeological biography’: our excavations have had a palpable impact on how we

in Finding Shakespeare’s New Place

presents an overview of the site since the removal of the 1702 house, and particularly focuses upon the archaeological projects that have taken place during the last 150 years – namely that of Halliwell-Phillipps and Dig for Shakespeare. These projects, although separated in time, were conceived with the same intention: to investigate the site of New Place in order to reveal evidence of Shakespeare

in Finding Shakespeare’s New Place
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. William Shakespeare, The Tempest , 1611 Proto-colonial archaeology of Elizabethan Ireland, particularly in the Irish Republic, has only recently begun, and caution warns against advancing firm conclusions at this stage. Nevertheless, some general observations are justified concerning the twelve-year Elizabethan colonial settlement, or ‘planting’, of Munster, because even limited fieldwork can significantly correct research all too dependent upon insufficient documentation. Elizabethan Ireland was certainly not the ‘brave new world’ that

in Castles and Colonists