Citizen Shakespeare

Freemen and Aliens in the Language of the Plays

  • Authors
  • John Michael Archer

Part of the Early Modern Cultural Studies book series (EMCSS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. John Michael Archer
    Pages 1-22
  3. John Michael Archer
    Pages 23-70
  4. John Michael Archer
    Pages 71-120
  5. John Michael Archer
    Pages 121-168
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 169-211

About this book


Shakespeare was not a citizen of London. But the language of his plays is shot through with the concerns of London 'freemen' and their wives, the diverse commercial class that nevertheless excluded adult immigrants from country towns and northern Europe alike. This book combines London historiography, close reading, and recent theories of citizen subjectivity to demonstrate for the first time that Shakespeare's plays embody citizen and alien identities despite their aristocratic settings. Through three chapters, the book points out where the city shadows the country scenes of the major comedies, shows how London's trades animate the 'civil butchery' of the history plays, ans explains why England's metropolis becomes the fractured Rome of tragedy,


Close reading comedy corpus England Europe historiography history history of literature language migrant play Polis subject time tragedy

Bibliographic information