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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Adam Zucker

Second Advisor

Jane Degenhardt

Third Advisor

Brian Ogilvie

Subject Categories

Dramatic Literature, Criticism and Theory | Human Geography | Literature in English, British Isles | Renaissance Studies | Theatre History


Recent criticism proves the malleability of theatrical space as a lens through which the discussion of Renaissance drama proliferates. Negotiating Space works towards the articulation of the importance of space in the representational mimesis of performance by examining moments of violence, violation, misuse, and misappropriation. I draw a connection between the lived, material sites of the plays’ action and the ideological import of representing those spaces dramatically using a focus on violation. Though much good scholarship exists detailing London-centric approaches to dramatic space, this study discursively reifies identifiable staged spaces to connect with the lives of theatrical patrons no matter where they experienced drama. The flexible definition of violation initiates a contextually responsive link to social issues like gendered agency and “fit decorum” in a chapter on domestic space. This project asserts the important proximity of theater patrons to spaces of incarceration as a component of the political and corporeal sovereignty of early modern England. Like the chapter that follows, carceral spaces trace a meaning that goes beyond the historical stage to imprint contemporary ideological debates. City walls and borders mark the site of affective political relationships that invite the audience member to identify and interrogate his or her embodied involvement in the polis while also suggesting the importance of the theater’s power to forge emotional connections. Finally, I show how metatheatrical representations of stage space employ violation or misuse to reinforce formations of representational logic. By examining the theater as a social, political, and aesthetic vehicle of culture, early modern drama explicates its own attempts to explain its onstage representations of the world (or spaces) and its participation in a culture of exchange. Using plays by Shakespeare, Heywood, Massinger, Fletcher, Marlowe, Peele, and Brome, Negotiating Space presents a critical arc that centralizes dramatic space as the crucial variable in the process of understanding how the theater existed as a social institution that shaped and responded to its own social practice. Space is contentious; studying its dramatic representation reflects and reveals the complex significations that shape an inclusive understanding of the world.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.