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'O Brave New World'

The Tempest and Peter Martyr's De Orbe Novo

Roger Stritmatter and Lynne Kositsky

In recent years the concept of early modern ‘source studies’ has undergone a sea change, with profound but underestimated implications for Tempest scholarship: ‘Where once it was assumed the term[source] could apply only to those texts with demonstrable verbal connection, critics [now insist]…upon the dialogue that an individual text conducts both with its recognisable sources and analogues, and with the wider culture within which it functioned’. Coincident with this widening of critical focus to include the circulation of motifs and ideas throughout the wider culture of early modern Europe has been the emergence of a renewed emphasis on the Mediterranean contexts – both literary and historical – that have shaped the imaginative topography of Shakespeare’s play.After decades of the dominance of Americanist readings, there is now a renewed appreciation for the topographical complexity of Shakespeare’s imaginative landscape.

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Roger Stritmatter and Lynne Kositsky

Gary Taylor's 1982 Review of English Studies article, 'A New Source and an Old Date for King Lear', highlights numerous semantic, thematic and structural parallels between Shakespeare's King Lear, customarily assigned a composition date in late 1605 or spring 1606, and Eastward Ho (first published September 1605). Deconstructing Taylor's methodology for determining the order of influence between the two plays, we argue that the authors of Eastward Ho found the bard's cosmic tragedy of royal intrigue and intergenerational strife an irresistible target for rambunctious topical satire. In place of a Lear that without motive incorporates vague patches of Eastward Ho influence, we read an Eastward Ho that enacts an acerbically brilliant parody of several Shakespeare plays, among them King Lear.

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Rosalind Barber, Paul Bentley, Lynne Kositsky, William Leahy, Penny McCarthy, Aris Mousoutzanis, and Roger Stritmatter

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