Foreign and Native on the English Stage, 1588-1611: Metaphor and National Identity

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This book explores how the dramatic embodiment of English national identity responded to a period of dynastic transition and rapid political and cultural change. Three detailed case studies look at Cleopatra as metaphor, Kent as synecdoche and Christendom as metonymy, contextualising these stage topographies using both contemporary texts and those drawn from older (classical and medieval) and non-native (continental European) traditions. This shines new light on canonical Shakespeare plays, respectively Antony and Cleopatra; King Lear and Cymbeline, illuminating how early modern English national identity could be experienced as simultaneously 'native' and 'foreign'. This wide-ranging approach acknowledges that collective and individual identities overlap and compete with one another: public identities may generate alternative representations; local identities may compete with the formulations of the nation state; national identities may struggle to accommodate regional spiritual identities.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationHoundsmills, Basingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages248
ISBN (Print)978-0-333-71472-0
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • Shakespeare
  • Metaphor
  • Identity
  • Drama
  • England
  • Europe
  • Elizabeth I
  • James VI and I


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