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Making the land known: Henry IV Parts 1 and 2

Professor Julie Sanders, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Newcastle University

Date/Time: 26th November 2015

In recent years, we have witnessed a flourishing of interest in books about paths, ways, and walking. From the prose writings of Robert Macfarlane, Simon Armitage and Iain Sinclair through the poetic output of Alice Oswald, Peter Riley and Thomas A. Clark among others, we can trace a strong contemporary interest in ‘footwork’. But there is also a history of walking events and literary responses that can be traced back to the time of William Shakesepeare and Ben Jonson.

This lecture journeys backwards from contemporary walking texts to use two experimental history plays, Shakespeare’s two parts of Henry IV, to explore the ways in which Shakespearean drama was influenced by but also influenced this contemporary ‘literature of perambulation’. We will in turn examine how walking the nation could be understood as a means of understanding new concepts of nation and region, space and place, in the late 16th and early 17th century.

Speaker biography

Julie Sanders recently joined Newcastle University as a Professor of English and as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Her book The Cultural Geography of Early Modern Drama, 1620-1650, published by Cambridge University Press in 2011, won the British Academy Rose Mary Crawshay prize for international women’s scholarship in 2012.

She recently published Ben Jonson’s Walk to Scotland (Cambridge, 2015) with James Loxley and Anna Groundwater. This book was supported by an Arts and Humanities Research Council grant and is part of an ongoing project that has involved worked with heritage consultants and major historical sites in England and Scotland.