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"Who Stand i' th' Gaps": Narrative Authority in the Early Modern English Travel Play

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In travel writing, the conditions of travel (temporal, spatial, and cultural distance) prevent audiences from verifying foreign content for themselves, so travel accounts demand a narrator, in the words of Gower in Shakespeare's Pericles, "who stand[s] i' the gaps." However, because the traveler's task is to represent what is, for his readers, unknowable, his authority cannot be challenged and is subject to abuse. In this thesis, I analyze three English travel or travel-based plays--Shakespeare's and Wilkins's Pericles, Heywood's The English Traveller, and Brome's The Antipodes--as a setting in which to examine the use of travel to construct authority on the early modern stage. Travel plays, unlike a written travel narrative, place distant events and people in close physical proximity to the viewer and revitalize textual competitions for authority in living flesh. I argue that by making their narrators visible even as they gradually relegate travel to metaphor, these plays call attention to and question the use of travel to construct narrative authority.
Early Modern Drama
Narrative Authority
The Antipodes
The English Traveller
Travel Narrative
Greenholt, Jennifer Leigh (author)
Harlan, Susan E (committee chair)
Franco, Dean J (committee member)
Hena, Omaar (committee member)
2011-07-14T20:35:34Z (accessioned)
2011-07-14T20:35:34Z (available)
2011 (issued)
English (discipline)
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/33453 (uri)
en (iso)
Wake Forest University
"Who Stand i' th' Gaps": Narrative Authority in the Early Modern English Travel Play

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