Setting the scene: Shakespeare's liminal spaces and the contestation of authority

Haworth, B., 2021. Setting the scene: Shakespeare's liminal spaces and the contestation of authority. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the material and metaphorical representations of actual physical geographic spaces employed by Shakespeare, showing how he draws on their contemporary cultural significances. In doing so, it appreciably advances recent critical developments in the way Shakespeare and his contemporaries created their worlds to reflect concurrent cartographic, geopolitical and social anxieties.

This thesis offers the first in-depth examination of the liminal settings used by Shakespeare, both their physical representations and their respective metaphorical and symbolic significations'. Through close analysis, historicization and theorisation of the connotations of these liminal spaces, I contend that they are ideally suited to the staging of social frictions and trace the shifting balance of power between opposing ideological standpoints and the internal struggles between an emergent subjectivity and conformity with the centralised authorities of Church and Court.

In seeking to explore the dynamics and fluctuations of power on the stage, this thesis demonstrates how liminal settings were often employed to subvert centralised structures of power. To this end, I engage with the primary point of contention that still lies in stalemate between cultural materialists and new historicists: namely, is the presence of subversive content and dissident undercurrents in literature and drama permitted, albeit temporarily, and therefore contained within the centralised structures of authority, or do such transgressive elements in fact exert pressure on and potentially alter these social, political and religious states?

This thesis presents a decisive resolution to long-standing disputes over the movement of power and the potential for subversion in both mental and physical representations of place, space and location. It provides a unique set of perspectives through which Shakespeare's liminal settings and geographic referents are revealed as deliberate dramatic devices, drawing on their capacity to destabilise social structures.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Haworth, B.
Date: January 2021
Rights: The copyright in this work is held by the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the author.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 05 Nov 2021 14:29
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2021 14:30
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/44627

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