Introduction

  • John Michael Archer
Part of the Early Modern Cultural Studies book series (EMCSS)

Abstract

Was Shakespeare a citizen? Yes, if we use this word in its everyday sense of “inhabitant of a city,” for he spent much of his life in London. But Shakespeare was not admitted to “the freedom” of the city, and thus he never became a “citizen of London” in the accepted legal and political sense of his time. He was both a civic outsider and an urban insider. The discourse and disposition of London citizens imbue his plays, although citizens proper are seldom represented directly on his stage, and when they are they usually appear anxious and inconsequential. The Citizen of my title is meant as an adjective, and its Shakespeare employs the conventional metonymy by which we designate a collection of texts and all that pertains to them by the author’s name.

Keywords

Europe Income Expense Lost Stake 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Patricia Parker, Shakespeare from the Margins: Language, Culture, Context (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), p. 1; Spitzer, “Development of a Method,” in Alban K. Forcione et al., eds., Representative Essays (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988), pp. 433–434. Spitzer credits Hans Sperber with the concept as well.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
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  19. 38.
    Schoenbaum, Compact Life, p. 27. Gilbert Shakespeare is described as a haberdasher of St. Bride’s parish, London, in a document that records his standing bail for a Stratford clock-maker. Scholars have not found his name in the Haberdasher’s rolls, however (p. 331 note 6).Google Scholar
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  38. 68.
    Parker, Margins, pp. 2–3; Karl Marx, “Theses on Feuerbach,” in The Marx–Engels Reader, 2nd edn., ed. Robert C. Tucker (New York: Norton, 1978), pp. 143–145.Google Scholar
  39. 69.
    Jean E. Howard treats citizens and aliens together in “Mastering Difference in The Dutch Courtesan,” Shakespeare Studies 24 (1996), 105–117, and in “Women, Foreigners, and the Regulation of Urban Space in Westward Ho,” in Orlin, ed., Material London, pp. 150–167. On aliens in the period’s drama, see the standard work by A. J. Hoenselaars, Images of Englishmen and Foreigners in the Drama of Shakespeare and His Contemporaries (Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1992). Citizen and merchant types also appear in this study.Google Scholar
  40. 70.
    For these lexical matters, see the OED and Onions, Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. Google Scholar

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© John Michael Archer 2005

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  • John Michael Archer

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