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Palgrave Macmillan

Shakespeare and the French Borders of English

ISBN 9781137327826
Publication Date September 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Early modern England owed a deep debt to France. While this debt was obvious, England was anxious to assert itself amid the new and unstable fora of the Reformation, the Renaissance, the book trade, the growth of commerce and the development of the early modern nation. In order to do so, England pursued a series of courses: to learn French, to study Anglo-French history and to glorify England. Shakespeare and the French Borders of English emerges from an interdisciplinary conversation on the theory of translation and the role of foreign languages. By analyzing Shakespeare's treatment of France and French, Saenger interrogates the cognitive borders of the English nation, a set of borders that was more dependent upon languages and ideas as it was upon governments and shorelines.

Michael Saenger is Associate Professor in the Department of English at Southwestern University, USA. He is the author of The Commodification of Textual Engagements in the English Renaissance and has published widely on Renaissance and other literature, in such journals as Studies in Philology, Notes and Queries, Shakespeare Survey, and James Joyce Quarterly. He has been a finalist for the Southwestern Teaching Award and teaches courses on such subjects as Medieval literature, Shakespeare in film, and Shakespeare through Performance.

1: The Place of French in England
2: Egoge and Verfremdung
3: Anterior Design: Presenting the Past in Richard II
4: Henry V and 'Imaginary Puissance'
5: Comic Translations in All's Well That Ends Well
6: 'Dead for a ducat': Tragedy and Marginal Risk
Conclusion: 'Am I in France?'


"A valuable contribution to scholarly discussions of Shakespeare and France that raises important issues that will be of interest to any scholar concerned with situating early modern England - and France - in a multilingual and multicultural context." - Renaissance Quarterly
"A signal achievement - illuminating and engaging at every turn." - Patricia Parker, Margery Bailey Professor of English and Dramatic Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature, Stanford University
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