Stratfordian Perambulations; or, Walking with Shakespeare

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  • 1 University of Nottingham julie.sanders@ncl.ac.uk
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There is much current interest in walking as a social and physiological practice in disciplines from literature to geography, from anthropology to performance studies. 'Walking Studies' impact Shakespearean scholarship and in particular work relating to Shakespeare-freighted sites such as Stratford-upon-Avon, where the loaded discourses of tourism and personal encounter are predominant in the practical experience of visitors. This article asks what it might mean, either for the individual or the collective, to 'walk with Shakespeare' and whether the 'Shakespeare' that we locate in these experiences is always already a construct, fashioned to feed the demands of a national economy and the gross national product by drawing millions of visitors to an otherwise fairly nondescript Midlands market town. It explores the possibility that walking with 'Shakespeare' may mean walking with an available icon but not with the complex textual, performative, and historical Shakespeares at the heart of academic scholarship.

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