Shakespeare was an astute observer of contemporary life, culture, and politics. The emerging practice of territory as a political concept and technology did not elude his attention. In Shakespearean Territories, Stuart Elden reveals just how much Shakespeare’s unique historical position and political understanding can teach us about territory. Shakespeare dramatized a world of technological advances in measuring, navigation, cartography, and surveying, and his plays open up important ways of thinking about strategy, economy, the law, and colonialism, 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, 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.
University of Chicago Press; December 2018
- ISBN 9780226559223
- Read online, or download in secure PDF format
- Title: Shakespearean Territories
- Author: Stuart Elden
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
In The Press
“Shakespearean Territories is a truly groundbreaking volume that enriches our reading of Shakespeare at the same time as it illuminates our understanding of the nature and history of territory. An insightful and engrossing work, Shakespearean Territories demonstrates Elden’s unquestionable position as the most significant thinker of territory and the geographic working today—and in relation to the literary and dramatic no less than the political.”
— Jeff Malpas, University of Tasmania
“A work of meticulous scholarship, Shakespearean Territories teases out and explains a wide range of geographical themes present in Shakespeare’s plays with finesse and profound interpretation. Beyond the specific insights he offers on territory and geography as refracted through Shakespeare’s plays, Elden displays the substantial value of bridging literary and historical-geographical analysis.”
— Alexander Murphy, University of Oregon
“Shakespearean Territories offers illuminating analyses of Shakespeare’s works that are immersed in relevant scholarship on the colonial, geophysical, and corporeal aspects of territory. This is a fascinating textual analysis that builds upon the concept of territory with Elden’s characteristic nuance and depth.”
— Garrett Sullivan, Penn State University
About The Author
Stuart Elden is professor of political theory and geography at the University of Warwick. He is the author of several books, including The Birth of Territory, published by the University of Chicago Press.