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Reading the Road in Shakespeare’s Britain

Deadline: 28 Apr 2017

Editors: Lisa Hopkins (Sheffield Hallam University) and Bill Angus (Massey University)

The editors invite 400-word abstracts for a collection examining perceptions of 'the road' in early modern Britain.

It may be considered that the USA has its own road tradition, taking in the idea of the great western journey on the one hand, and the exodus from slavery towards the promised land of civil rights on the other, both configured biblically though essentially opposed. Out of these perhaps come the preponderance of American road movies and songs, and the idea of America itself configured as movement / a movement.

This edited collection aims to pull together new research on early modern British/European literary or historical perceptions of ‘the road’ and its cognates. Such research might ask questions of how the road contributes to British identity, and/or might include any or none of the following: post-Reformation views of pilgrimage or the sense of Christian journeying in texts such as Pilgrim’s Progress, perceptions of Roman or pre-Roman road heritage, of the winding nature of England’s 'rolling roads', of the mail and post-horse network, the idea of speed in 'post-haste' or of news travelling the highroads via itinerant merchant-newstellers or informers. It might consider the traditions of ancient church-way paths, cursuses, crossroads both physical and metaphorical, the roadside gallows or the place of the inn. It might reflect on the nature of travelling communities or the relation of characters like Autolycus, Ariel, or Puck to masterless wanderers and devils. It could include accounts of perceptions of mobility, both literal and figurative. It might also consider the representation of roads on maps and early modern surveying and mapping practices. These suggestions are indicative rather than prescriptive.

Please send proposals of 400 words and a brief biographical statement to the editors for consideration.

Notification of acceptance: 19 May 2017

Deadline for final submissions (6000-8000 words): 29 September 2017

Contact details:
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Filed under: Call for Papers - Publications

Last updated: 6 Feb 2017



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