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Article contents

Playing the Tourist in Early Modern London: Selling the Liberties Onstage

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2020

Abstract

This article attempts to reconstruct a mental cartography of early modern London, the ensemble of material, social, and symbolic codes that made up the social architecture of the city. The article extends Steven Mullaney's work by giving scholars a more accurate understanding of the geography of London and its liberties, especially those that housed private theaters, such as Shakespeare's Blackfriars. I look in particular at the liberty of the Whitefriars, arguing that between 1600 and 1615, two theaters used the liberty's reputation to draw visitors to both the theater and the neighborhood in an early modern version of cultural tourism. The theater thrived on a symbolic economy, a commodification of local color that drew people to the district, from in and outside London. I bring theories of space and tourism into play when considering the complexities of how a theater commodifies its neighborhood in this manner.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Modern Language Association of America, 2007

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