Importing Stratford

in Critical Survey
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  • 1 University of Minnesota kscheil@umn.edu
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This essay considers the phenomenon of non-Warwickshire cities and towns that have imported the name of Stratford for their locales, and the later ramifications of this inescapably Shakespearean place name. My aim is to explore why citizens around the world have chosen 'Stratford' as a name for their locale, what connotations they were hoping to evoke and to import, and how the choice of place name has affected the subsequent development of the space. The various imported Stratfords discussed in this essay, from America to New Zealand, suggest the complex associations between the name of 'Stratford' and its most famous original resident, from evoking a sense of tradition, stability and history; to the complicated relationships between national identities. This often tumultuous partnership is indicative of the shifting values and meanings behind both 'Stratford' and Shakespeare, from the nineteenth century to the present, and in various geographical locales and economic circumstances.

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