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Performing Places in Thomas Dekker's Old Fortunatus.

PERFORMANCE" AND "PLACE" are difficult and ambiguous terms. To undertake the former both requires and establishes the latter. Places, or what Henri Lefebvre calls socially produced spaces, are informed and shaped by the effects of the social practices and performances that inhabit them. (1) Defining a place is a highly subjective act, and the word is a "slippery" concept used to invest space with meaning "in the context of power." (2) To separate a place from the space that surrounds it is to construct boundaries, to register ownership of it, or simply to admire or think about it. Such a process is, moreover, fraught with uncertainty in a late modern globalized context. As Jody Berland explains, "place has become one of the most anxiety-ridden concepts" in a world characterized by "the flow of people, cultures, and commodities across borders, and the rapidity of technological change." (3) Mobility and movement do not simply threaten places, they also animate them. According to Yi-Fu Tuan, space and place are characterized by their conceptual proximity to movement and inertia: "The ideas 'space' and 'place' require each other for definition. From the security and stability of place we are aware of the openness, freedom, and threat of space, and vice versa. Furthermore, if we think about space as that which allows movement, then place is pause; each pause in movement makes it possible for location to be transformed into place." (4) Where these transformations occur, places are constructed by social performances, or what Michel de Certeau has termed "practices." (5) Places are meaningless without these rudimentary social actions (walking, talking, reading, dwelling). But when power structures ascribe themes of deviant mobility to the social practices of particular places, it is often a sign that those places--and the ideological codes that define them--are being unsettled.

This has been more obvious in certain times and places than in others. In the spatial and social stratification of early modern England, which, Andrew McRae asserts, was "underpinned" by "a commitment to values of place" themes of movement and migration recurrently questioned the tangled boundaries of national stability and social order. (6) Hence Randal Cotgrave's 1611 definition of place delineates both spatial determinants ("a roome," "space" "ground" "soyle" "shore") and markers of social distinction (an "Office" "Function;' "Dignitie;' and "Charge"). (7) Thus the control of social and geographical mobility was of utmost concern to a period (and nation) that was experiencing the passage of bodies, information, and things on an unprecedented scale. Moreover, it seems particularly germane to question how places, spaces, and placelessness were thought and written about in an era that fashioned geometrical paradigms of space that continue to resonate in modern cartographies today.

In London, the hub of English literary production, social identity was determined through a matrix of interrelated semiotics, including gender, profession, education, and attire. (8) Economic placement was engrained as a stable center of dialogue that connected the layers and factional ties of civic community. As James I would state in 1616, "as every fish lives in his owne place, some in the fresh, some in the salt, some in the mud, so let every one live in his owne place." (9) A hierarchical ideology that branded mobility as deviant in many forms made social and geographical placement parallel concerns. As recent scholarship has emphasized, the early modern period experienced more social fluidity than any other in English history, deviating from the rigid social and geographical organization desired by the state. (10) A vast labor market dependent upon a casual and cyclical workforce produced a demographic core of increasingly mobile subjects. This "unsettled" city populace was, according to Patricia Fumerton, subject to daily "physical, economic, and psychological displacement." (11) Early modern Londoners experienced places at a far remove from the "stable" economic hierarchies voiced by contemporary political ideologies. Being "out of place" was an endemic condition for many in the expanding lower orders of the city. Places of residence, employment, and worship were increasingly penetrated by mobile subjects who problematized numerous urban distinctions, between high and low.

Local responses to this shifting urban terrain register powerfully in the literature and drama of the period. Playwrights were persistently--and increasingly--alert to what Gail Kern Paster has termed "the nuances of locale." (12) Local places and the performances that informed, maintained, and questioned their perceived characteristics, were continually invoked on the stage as settings for specific kinds of social exchange. As Jean E. Howard demonstrates, local place functions in the theater "as the material arena within which urban social relations were regulated and urban problems negotiated." (13) In a society increasingly characterized by mobility and displacement, London housed a generation of professional poets and playwrights who were alive to the places, displacements, and threatening professional rivalries that surrounded them.

Focusing on Thomas Dekker's Old Fortunatus (1599), this paper explores the performative context and spatial intertexts of a play whose pilot staging was a Christmas rendition before the court of Elizabeth I. My discussion centers on the tumultuous social context of 1599, and confronts Dekker's interest in the linked instabilities of social, geographical, and professional (dis)placement. Writing for audiences emerging from the decade-long shadows of repeated harvest failure, inflation, heavy taxation, unemployment, and overcrowding, Dekker invokes contemporary cartographic discourse as a conscious mapping of London's socially divided cityscape. (14) Furthermore, I explore Dekker's play with particular attention to his intertextual borrowings, and argue that Dekker's preoccupation with his own professional place is a concern that pervades the wider social and spatial interest of his play. The paper concludes with a reading of Dekker's audacious digression upon the Earl of Essex debacle, illuminating parallels between the dramatist and courtier, and considering Dekker's appreciation of the unstable and potentially destructive nature of one's place at court.


The tale of Fortunatus originated in Germany. Printed in Augsburg in 1509, the chapbooks popularity was attested to through its seven reappropriations before Hans Sachs was the first to dramatize it (as a tragedy) in 1553. No English adaptation of the book (or play) survives prior to Dekker's 1599 staging of The Whole History of Fortunatus, which was printed under the title of The Pleasant Comedy of Old Fortunatus in February 1600. (15) The tale, in its first English translation of 1676, follows this storyline: a roguish Cypriot named Fortunatus flees his hometown of Famagosta in search of wealth and prosperity. He travels first to London, then to Picardy, and on to Brittany, where, wandering lost in a forest, he is visited by the deity Lady Fortune, who gives him the choice of six gifts: wisdom, riches, health, strength, long life, and beauty. Choosing wealth, he is endowed with a magical purse capable of replenishing its store of ten gold coins in whichever currency his location demands. Then, after traveling to Ireland, back to Cyprus, through Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Persia, he steals an enchanted wishing hat from the Persian Sultan. Fortunatus uses the hat, which can aerially transport its wearer anywhere in the world at the thought of its location, to return to his family. On his deathbed, he bestows his magical items onto his two sons, Andelocia and Ampedo. The remainder of the tale follows the exploits of Andelocia, who separates the gifts (against the dying wishes of his father) and takes the purse to the royal courts of France, Spain, and England. Andelocia then serves valiantly in the Anglo-Scottish wars and falls deeply in love with the English princess Agrippina. Gulled of the purse by the very object of his desires, the hapless Cypriot goes back to his homeland, steals the wishing-hat from his indolent brother Ampedo, and returns to the English court to reclaim his father's prized possession. Wishing himself and the princess "through the Air" to some wilderness "that bordereth upon Ireland," Andelocia is again duped by the princess, who makes off with both of the marvelous accessories. Stranded in the "desert" Andelocia discovers cursed apples that cause the eater to grow "out of his head two horns, like as it were of a goat" which he takes back to the court, disguised as an applevendor. Agrippina purchases the apples in the faith that they will "cause excellent beauty, and make a sharp wit in those which should eat of them" and then returns to the court to discover her disfiguring horned head. (16) Disguising himself for a final time as an old female physician, Andelocia travels secretly to the princess's chamber, treats her horns, and reclaims his father's hat and purse. He then whisks Agrippina off to the desert once more and reveals his identity, rebuking her for her deceitful behavior. In the action that concludes the tale, Agrippina and Andelocia go their separate ways--she to England, he to Cyprus--only to later cross paths when the princess travels to wed a young Cypriot prince. Agrippina's royal guard discovers Andelocia, imprisons him, and then murders him after he divulges the secret of his father's infamous purse.

Dekker's reworking of this story stayed only tenuously faithful to the characters and plotline of the original. The playwright liberally cut, pasted, and swapped the geographical locales of the tale in his refashioned narrative, displacing characters and events at will to better suit the dramatic space of the stage. There are no recorded productions of it on the public stage before its royal performance on 27 December 1599. Dekker's play was a late draft-in for Elizabeth's yuletide festivities, originally written for performance in the Rose Theatre, then home to Henslowe's troupe, the Admiral's Men. Just two weeks after Henslowe recorded his "full payment" for the play, Dekker received another forty shillings for the "eande of fortewnatus for the corte." (17) It seems likely, therefore, that in the short interval that separated Dekker's "full" and "eande" payments, Henslowe asked Dekker to redesign his play for performance in Whitehall Palace. Beyond the appended "Prologue" and "Epilogue at Court" we have no way of knowing what (if anything) was altered to accommodate this change of venue. However, in lieu of the narrow time frame, and bearing in mind the required rehearsal time for a "new" play, we can cautiously assume that Dekker had little opportunity to carry out major changes.

Unsurprisingly, the theme of changing places is a key narrative device in Dekker's appropriation of this German tale. At the outset of the play the Prologue entreats its audience to observe the playing space as a theatrical atlas of distant places and cultures:
   for this small Circumference must stand,
   For the imagind Surface of much land,
   Of many kingdomes, and since many a mile,
   Should here be measurd out, our muse intreats,
   Your thoughts to helpe poore Art.
      (15-19) (18)

Advertising the "miles" covered by the play's plotline--which sees the action shift from Cyprus, to Babylon, to England, and then to "some wilderness" (Ireland) and back again--the Prologue implores its onlookers to stretch their imaginations to receive the ambitious mobilities of the play's protagonists. Where Dekker humbly excuses the "poore" performance about to take shape, however, the extent to which his performance required such modest introductory words is questionable to say the least. For according to a (now lost) stocktaking of the Admiral's Men's playhouse inventories (dated 10 March 1598), a range of props required for the play were already in the company's possession over eighteen months before its first performance. Among the listed items were a "globe" 'golden scepter" "wheel and frame,' "gowlden fleece," "clothe of the Sone & Mone" "tree of gowlen apples" cage, and a further array of crowns, costumes and weapons employable throughout the action of the play. (19) The extent of the list would at least suggest that Dekker and the Admiral's Men's "impoverished" performance took place on a stage that was richly adorned, and reminiscent of the ambitious theatrical undertakings in Christopher Marlowe's work throughout the previous decade. Moreover, Dekker's use of a chorus before each act to explain and situate the geographical movements of the plotline mirrored the technique pioneered by Shakespeare's Henry V (1599) just months before. By rehearsing his contemporary rival's narrative stratagem, however, Dekker also endorses the rebellious content of Shakespeare's choruses, which, as Peter C. Herman explains, refuted the bogus imperial histories of contemporary accounts that propounded Tudor myths of stability, prosperity, and social accord--which were problematic in the tumultuous social context of London in 1599. (20) In referencing Shakespeare's device, Dekker not only echoes a politically charged exemplum of theatrical discourse, but also places his play in deferential subordination to his rival's innovative practice.

As the action of the play begins, Dekker evokes sites of local topography through the convention of anatopism. Through this practice, Darryl Grantley explains, "remote locations--in terms of geography, period or myth--were readily understood to represent English society in general, and even specifically London," and Dekker employs it to situate his dual interest in local urban places and their literary contexts. (21) Beginning with the short section that precedes Fortunatus's ethereal vision of Lady Fortune and her entourage of servants, we meet the "wandring Knight" rambling alone, lost in a wood in Cyprus. Scorning his Echo as "this foole that mockes me, and sweares to have the last word," and likening it to "the great bell of St. Michaels in Cyprus, that keepes most rumbling when men would most sleepe" (1.1.36, 42-43, 45-47), Fortunatus localizes his setting to the rather less exotic place of St. Michael's Church in East Peckham: a landmark described by the urban chronicler John Stow (in the previous year) as a "fayre and beutifull Parish Church." Significantly, however, Stow laments that the aged Church site, which figured in the Domesday accounts of 1086, has been "of late yeares greatlie blemished by the building of foure Tenementes on the North side thereof towardes the streete, in place of a greene churchyarde"; "whereby" he claims, "the church is greatly darkened, and otherwise annoyed." (22) Dekker recollects such a familiar and historic urban site to evoke an important image of urban and social placement. The demographic growth of the city, whose population leapt by approximately 30 percent in the half century that concluded Elizabeth's reign, bolstered a sprawling suburban expansion that began to dominate the city's immediate northern, southern, and eastern horizons. (23) For the first time, commercially generated capital was buying a stake in London's skyline, literally overshadowing the "fayre and beutifull" architecture whose demise was so mourned by antiquaries like Stow.

In opposition to Stow's lamentations, however, Dekker's protagonist berates the sanctified space of the church by complaining of its disruptive effects on the local populace. In Fortunatus's allusion, the untimely "rumbling" of the bells becomes an invasive, alienating presence and an unsettling specter of the character's (temporary) loss of residency. For the inhabitants of the fragmented monastic precincts in which such tenements were typically constructed, the material realities of urban life accentuated the passage of sound audibly. The cramped and vertically stacked properties that the majority of Londoners occupied were, according to Lena Cowen Orlin, characterized by "shared spaces and moveable borders", and their timber frames did little to insulate inhabitants from external noises. (24) The bustling urban milieus of the city also contributed to the clamorous soundscape. As Emily Cockayne notes, the places of London were permeated by manifold noises from the "traffic, animals, revellers, inconsiderate neighhours, artisans and street musicians" who thronged the capital's streets. (25) The sources of such noises were, moreover, often charged with interrupting devotional prayer and concentration by ecclesiastical authorities, and such complaints were regularly directed at the playhouses. For Dekker to claim that the bells of the church were interrupting the lives of the local population plays satirically with prevalent concerns of the "high." Dekker engenders the tumult of everyday urban life as normative, displacing the sounds that emanated from local devotional places as intrusive and unsettling.

In the proceeding sequence, Dekker's Fortunatus terms the exotic "wilderness" that he has wandered into a perplexing "world without end,' and contemplates how his shambling geographical displacement threatens to change his very nature: "To see how travell can transforme: my teeth are turn'd into Nut crackers, a thousand to one I breake out shortly, for I am full of nothing, but waxing kernels, my tongue speakes no language but an Almond for a Parrat and cracke me this Nut: If I hop three daies more up and downe this cage of Coockooes nests, I shall turne wilde man sure, and be hyred to throw Squibs among the Comminaltie upon some terrible day" (1.1.50-58). Dekker's allusion to Nashe's An Almond for a Parrat (1589) is stark and telling. (26) Nashe was often commemorated by contemporary writers as an imaginative and vicious critic of high society. He was known affectionately as "Pierce"--pronounced "purse"--a nickname accrued through association with his popular pamphlet Pierce Penniless: A Supplication to the Devil (1592), which rebuked the dire financial neglect of professional poets in London. (27) Dekker's pun on his compatriot's nickname would of course echo throughout Old Fortunatus, where Fortune's purse ironically represents the central cornucopia of wealth and prosperity for its lowly keepers. In unveiling this play on words in the opening scene, Dekker pays tribute to Nashe, engendering his work as a limitless "purse" of literary wealth. And in doing so, Dekker assumes the scathing narrative modes and thinly disguised allegories of Nashe's vehement prose, a style and direction of writing that held dire financial consequences for its author, who died in poverty. Dekker accompanies this tribute to his contemporary with an implicit recognition of how changing places--geographically--can enact social transformation. In the wilderness that Fortunatus wanders into, he acknowledges himself a malnourished, displaced wretch ("I am full of nothing"), and the phrase "breake out shortly" compounds the prevalent perception of the wandering poor as disease carriers. (28) However, it soon transpires that the threats of mutability and mortality lie squarely with Fortunatus, who fears, if left in this "cage of Coockooes nests" that he will turn "wilde man sure," in a subversive allusion to the noble savage of lore who escaped the social sinfulness of man through displacement from society. (29) And how Dekker imagines this transformation is significant. Predicting his protagonist turned "wild man"--the inverted figuration of civility and nobility--Dekker conjures the transformed Fortunatus as an actor "hyred to throw Squibs among the Comminaltie" in an overt reference to Marlowe's infamous use of fireworks in Doctor Faustus. (30) In turn, this accompanies his allusion to either (or both) John Lyly's anti-Martinist Pappe with an hatchet ... Cracke me this Nut (1589) and/or the anonymously authored Cracke me this Nutte--a popular play performed at least five times between 1595-96 at the Rose. What do these allusions tell us? Perhaps that the displaced Fortunatus's only viable existence in "this wildernesse" is as a performer, imitating old favorites on the stage for the pleasure of the native commonality. Through the illegal ventures of unlicensed performance and mobility, Fortunatus brands himself a vagabond, embodying what William Carroll has termed "the socially and metaphysically null" of the early modern social order, who existed "at the bottom of all hierarchy." (31)


Dekker consistently develops links between the theater, those in or at it, and locations in the world beyond. For example, he frequently puns upon his protagonist's name to tease out further place-related complexities in the wider action of his play. Such puns were not simply onomastic. From antiquity to the Middles Ages, the archipelago which we now know as the Canary Isles was termed the "Blessed" or "Fortunata" Islands. These islands appear in Plutarch's Lives, a text used by Shakespeare in 1599 as a source for both Henry V and Julius Caesar, and which, according to James Shapiro, was widely known as Elizabeth rs pet translation project. (32) Plutarch describes the "Islands of the Blest" as an idyllic region, a home of "moderate rains" "soft" winds, and "cool ... moist breezes." According to Plutarch, "the islands not only have a rich soil which is excellent for plowing and planting, but also produce a natural fruit that is plentiful and wholesome enough to feed, without toil or trouble, a leisure folk. Moreover, an air that is salubrious, owing to the climate and the moderate changes in the seasons, prevails on the islands." This utopian climate fosters a luxurious, comfortable life, free of hard labor and dearth for its fortunate inhabitants. Furthermore, Plutarch's description of the islands' sheltered geographical placement alludes to the physical protection afforded to the region by nature itself: "the north and east winds which blow out from our part of the world plunge into a fathomless space, and, owing to the distance, dissipate themselves and lose their power before they reach the islands" (33) Such "fathomless space" shields the islands from the disruptive forces experienced (in varying degrees) by the rest of the known world. In this instance, however, the protective "space" symbolizes a sanctified absence, a divinely ordained prophylaxis against the harsh northeasterly winds that buffeted Europe's borders. Mirroring Plutarch's naming of the region as "the Elysian fields" William Camden's Britannia goes a step further in praising the sanctification of the Fortunata Isles. Camden describes a remote archipelago wherein "none dwell but devout and just men," and depicts a liminal eschatological place which "men say [that] the soules of the dead are translated over." (34) The Arcadian remoteness of the islands fosters a spatial province of both divine constitution and transformative agency, and these are characteristics that Dekker employs satirically to reflect upon the place and inhabitants of Westminster as the play continues.

The placement of the Fortunata was also a central site of significance for the epochal second-century cartographic revelations of Claudius Ptolemy. (35) His Geographia listed descriptions and locations of over 8,000 terrestrial places, delineating their distances apart through the invention of longitudinal and latitudinal coordination. Rediscovered in the fourteenth century, Geographia founded the basis of modern mapmaking, revolutionizing, in Jerry Brotton's terms, contemporary perceptions "of space itself." (36) From hence, geographical position and proximity could be visually theorized in a secular materialization of regional and naval frontiers, opening up the expansionist potentialities of travel, trade, and conflict with distant places and cultures. On Ptolemy's world map degrees are employed for measuring the arcs that form (longitudinal) meridian curves across the earth's surface. Dissected by parallel lines of latitude, this cross-section allows the calculation of degrees of difference between places, solidifying the first conceptualization of the the globe on such a scale. (37) Using the westernmost point on his map, the Fortunate Isles, as the site of zero degrees, Ptolemy calculated the measurements between every location in his Geographia based on their distances (in degrees) from the islands. (38)

We can return from these locations, and their mapping, to Dekker's theatrical project. For the concept of degrees was also employed in the staging of early modern drama at court. As Andrew Gurr has shown, the tiers of seating in Whitehall, which themselves worked to map the social standing of the auditorium, were referred to as "degrees." (39) The courtly inhabitants that would have surrounded Dekker and The Admiral's Men's 1599 performance of Old Fortunatus were socially ranked by their placement in the seating arrangements of the Banqueting Hall. To every inhabitant of the room, therefore, the social esteem of the surrounding courtiers could be visually determined based upon one's elevation from the ground, physical distance from Elizabeth, and proximity to the lowly actors below. In lieu of this spatial arrangement, therefore, Fortunatus's personification and embodiment of Ptolemy's site of zero degrees marks a pointed recognition of both character and actor's relative social worth--or rather, worthlessness. Dekker seems to use this symbolically worthless position, ground-center of the Banqueting Hall, to animate his characters' several wondrous interactions with the world of the court to characteristically satirical effect in this play. As we shall see, in comparison to its illustrious surroundings, the base-degree of the playing space at Whitehall symbolizes a social identity that, for Dekker at least, is conterminous with the degrees of separation existing between the places of regal Westminster and the lowly City of London.

This line of inquiry is significant because many of London's burgeoning lower orders experienced the western districts of their capital--Westminster, Chafing Cross, the Inns of Court--as representative of a foreign domain of untold wealth and social prestige. (40) The palace of Whitehall itself housed England's greatest collection of international art, and, according to Shapiro, its "spacious rooms" and treasures offered a rare opportunity for a privileged few to experience foreign aesthetics. (41) The many performances that enlivened this peculiar place were deeply colored by the mercantile mobility that brought such flamboyant wares to the English court. Dekker plays upon this inherent otherness and delivers a tongue-in-cheek expose of his gallant hosts, whose foreign tastes must have seemed a world apart from London's toiling suburbs. Mirroring the meridian site of the Fortunata Islands, Dekker's displaced protagonist personifies a kind of social meridian. By alluding to his physical position at ground level, Dekker compares the stratification of courtly ranks to the degrees employed in Ptolemy's chorographic treatise. In doing so, and then animating his destitute protagonist's rise and fall, Dekker appropriates the place of court on stage in Whitehall as a socially precarious, foreign, and therefore unnatural domain. Thus, when awakened from his slumber, we can imagine the old hoary knight's confused confrontation with the ranked courtly gallants, as he gasps, "Oh how am I transported? Is this earth? Or blest Elizium?" (1.1.147-48). Furthermore, such lines echo Quinces observation in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream: "Bless thee, Bottom, bless thee. Thou art translated" (3.1.105). (42) By drawing upon the metamorphosis undergone by Shakespeare's clown, Dekker alludes to the transformative potential of changing places in a most revealing professional acknowledgment. In this instance, Dekker again acknowledges his own literary place as subordinate and indebted to a rival playwright, whose narrative strategies he again employs to bolster his own authorial agenda.

Another significant linkage of physical, social, and dramatic places occurs with Lady Fortune's entrance to the stage in the opening scene. Her procession arrives whilst the destitute Fortunatus sleeps, and is led by a shepherd, gardener, tailor, and monk--respectively, the (socially low) mortal stylists of natural, material, and spiritual spatiality. Following them are two nymphs carrying a globe and Fortune's wheel, then Fortune herself leading four chained, broken kings. Crucially, the fourth king in the procession is introduced as "warlike Tamburlaine" (1.1.192). By referencing Marlowe's tyrant, an echo of Icarus who, like both Faustus and Fortunatus, reached a height of personal glory that condemned his fate as tragic, Dekker is doing more than simply matching his protagonist against the theatrical weight of his late counterpart. As Fortune commands that Tamburlaine "in a cage of Iron be drawne ... and there in griefe / Dashe out thy braines" (1.1.193-94), the deity reenacts the fate bestowed upon Bajazeth, Emperor of Turkey, at the hands of Tamburlaine in the final act of Part I (5.1.286-304). Therefore, in imprisoning and "drawing" Marlowe's notorious protagonist, Dekker claims (somewhat parodic) superiority over his predecessor's creation. But by condemning him to a fate of Marlovian construction, the playwright signals something else. Firstly, he prioritizes Tamburlaine as Fortune's "best minion" thus enshrining Marlowe and his antihero. Secondly, through then consigning Tamburlaine to Marlowe's own dramatic invention--braining himself in Bajazeth's cage--Dekker advertises his intent to plunder and refashion Marlovian discourse to his own ends. In a peculiar subversion of dramatic deference, Dekker attempts to assert his rightful theatrical place, in place of Marlowe, claiming, perhaps melodramatically, that "No teares can melt the heart of destinie" (1.1.197).

The material value of the globe accompanying Fortune's procession gestures towards further knotted place-related themes in Dekker's drama. As John Dee explained in 1570, many "loveth, getteth, and useth Mappes, Chartes, and Geographical Globes ... to beautify their Halls, Parlers, Chambers, Galeries, Studies, or Libraries," using them to learn of "things past." (43) Decorative objects with obvious didactic value, early modern globes were restricted to the homes of the wealthy by their hefty price tags. By placing one onstage, however, Dekker plays with the notion of value in characteristic terms. For many, the instructional space of the stage was held as conterminous to that of the globe, an association alluded to in Abraham Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (1570), John Speed's The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain (1612), and, of course, in the naming of the Globe theatre in 1599. (44) But the moral influence of the theater was debated widely in the period, and these disputations were exemplified in print by Philip Stubbes's railing against the "good examples to be learned" there: "if you will learne falshood, if you will learn cosenage: if you will learn to deceive: if you will learn to play the Hipocrit: to cogge, lye and falsifie: if you will learn to jest, laugh and [leer], to grin, to nodd, and mow: if you will learn to playe the vice, to swear, teare, and blaspleme, both Heaven and Earth: If you will learn to become abawde, uncleane, and to deverginat Mayds, to deflour honest Wyves: if you will learne to murther ... kill, picke, steal, robbe and rove." (45) Such hostilities were widespread, and the power of the player to captivate his audiences' imaginations bore threatening potentialities for the wider social order, not least through the actor's transgressive capacity for impersonation and disguise. However, the ability of the acting troupe to transform modest playing spaces was limited, and as Peter Holland states, to "try to move spaces" in a play was the readiest pathway of all to dramaturgical difficulty. (46) Subsequently, where Dekker's miscreants move between places in Old Fortunatus they utilize revealing dramatic devices. The first major shift in the play sees Fortunatus venture to the Babylonian court where he meets the Sultan and procures his wishing hat deceptively. His passage from Cyprus to Babylon occurs, of course, offstage; hence, the Chorus recounts the narrative shift, instructing its audience that
   The world to the circumference of heaven
   Is as a small point in Geometrie,
   Whose greatnes is so little, that a lesse
   Cannot be made: into that narrow roome,
   Your quicke imaginations we must charme,
   To turne that world: and (turn'd) againe to part it
   Into large kingdomes, and within one moment,
   To carrie Fortunatus on the wings
   Of active thought, many a thousand miles.

Dekker again animates remnants of Marlowe, drawing upon both the chronically mobile exploits of Tamburlaine and Mephistopheles' explication to Faustus of the "celestial bodies": "Even from the moon unto the empyreal orb, / Mutually folded in each others' spheres, / And jointly move upon one axletree, / Whose termine is termed the world's wide pole" (1616 text, 2.3.37-40). However, the histrionic zeal of Marlovian mobility and its spatial obsessions are characterized by Stephen Greenblatt as built upon an insistence on "the essential meaningless of theatrical space, the vacancy that is the dark side of its power to imitate any place," which Greenblatt distills to a secular "reduction of the universe to the coordinates of a map" (47) In contrast, Dekker evokes the physical peculiarities of performative space as expansive components of theatrical production. Working backwards from the ubiquitous immensity of heaven, Dekker instructs his audience to collapse the spatial impossibilities of Fortunatus's instantaneous passage. By figuring an abstract unfolding of space in the minds of his audience--"turn that world ... (turn'd) againe to part it"--like the opening of a folded parchment or map, Dekker places the subsequent action firmly within the material confines of "that narrow room" the Banqueting House at Whitehall. (48) From here his protagonist trumps geometric reality in true Faustian style through his literal flight from the Sultan's court thanks to his procurement of his host's "magical hat."

But where Marlowe enacts his heroes' mobilities offstage, Dekker figures several aerial exits not clearly explained by his printed stage directions. And in these instances it is tantalizing to envision Dekker utilizing the latest in Elizabethan dramatic technology. In 1592 the Rose was refurbished at the considerable expense of 105 [pounds sterling]. Part of Henslowe's investment paid for the construction of an overhead "hoisting device" which was named "the Heavens," and could "fly in" all manner of heavy and awkwardly proportioned stage-props. (49) Considering the Admiral's Men's history of innovative stagepractice, most famously compounded by the tragic events of 1587, in which they notoriously misfired a pistol during rehearsals that "killed a chyld, and a woman great with chyld forthwith," the spectacle of acrobatic actors "flying" from the stage is at least conceivable, and may go some way to explaining why Dekker found his play commissioned for court performance at all. (50) Though it may be a stretch to imagine the movement of such an apparatus for a singular court performance, plays were written in the period as transportable commodities, and it is worth bearing in mind that Henslowe's company had not performed at court at all in the previous year--putting severe pressure on them to reassert their places as serious contenders in London's increasingly competitive dramatic circles.


The spectacle of human flight gravitates back to the reception of Ptolemy's epochal Geographia. According to the Florentine geographer Francesco Berlinghieri's 1482 version of the work, the world map "offers divine intellect to human genius, as if it were by nature celestial, demonstrating how with true discipline, we can leap up within ourselves, without the aid of wings, so that we may view earth through an image marked on a parchment." (51) Berlinghieri's conveyance is characterized by a total metamorphosed perception of global space. Transcended by the holistic image of the earth's surface before (or beneath) him, the geographer's reception of spatial singularity is rendered as somehow beyond the pinnacle of human understanding. Over 600 years later, de Certeau's elevated observance of Manhattan, from the former summit of the one of the world's most iconic skylines, articulated his experience in starkly similar terms: "when one goes up there he leaves behind the mass that carries off and mixes up in itself any identity of authors or spectators. An Icarus flying above these waters, he can ignore the devices of Daedalus in mobile and endless labyrinths far below," However, the reference to the transient heights reached by Icarus characterizes de Certeau's transcendence as only apparent. Elevated above the manifold places beneath, de Certeau figures himself a voyeur, frozen by the distance and immobility that his perspective demands; his exalted perception of urban space affords him only a "fiction of knowledge" a displaced, detached ignorance of the "dark" complicated, lived spaces beneath. (52)

Dekker too considers the transience of social eminence throughout Old Fortunatus by evoking the image of Icarus. In Fortunatus's final lines before Lady Fortune signals her intent to claim his life, Dekker's protagonist condemns himself as an Icarus of stupefying proportions: "on Fortunes wings I ride, / And now sit in the height of humane pride" (2.2.223-24). His son Andelocia, eventual inheritor of both the magic purse and wishing hat, suffers a similar fate. Following his disastrous escapades in the English court, in which he is pickpocketed of his father's purse by the Princess Agripyne, with whom he is smitten, Andelocia kidnaps the light-fingered princess, flying her to "some wildernesse" to exact his revenge. Though Dekker does not specifically detail the location of the pair's excursion, we know that in the original tale they flew to Ireland. So when Andelocia returns to court it is fitting that he does so disguised as an Irish "coster-monger," speaking in a counterfeit Hiberno-English dialect. In this, Dekker wisely, if thinly, glosses the location of the ensuing scenes, hinting again at places and people beyond the stage. Why?

In June 1599, just months before Dekker's play was performed, George Fennor warned that it was "forbidden, on pain of death, to write or speak of Irish affairs" at Elizabeth's court, emphasizing the tensions provoked by the botched military campaign of Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex. (53) By Christmas, however, Essex's impromptu September return had captivated the interest of everyone invested in Elizabethan authority. (54) Formerly the Queen's most esteemed subject, Essex now languished in guarded solitude throughout the festive period. Invoking the downward-spiraling Essex (whom Francis Bacon would famously malign in 1600, "I was ever sorry your Lordship should fly with waxen wings, doubting Icarus' fortune"), Dekker reflects upon the once-favored courtier's social and geographical exile. (55) Andelocia's naval retreat from court thereby appropriates Essex's tumultuous passage to Ireland in unmistakable terms:
   Tho thoughts crownd him a Monarch in the morne,
   Yet now hees bandyed by the Seas in scorne,
   From wave to wave: his golden treasures spoyle
   Makes him in desperate language to intreate,
   The winds to spend their furie on his life.

The anger and frustration that characterized Essex's (several) partial exits from court are conjured by Dekker in the harsh conditions that awaited him on the Irish Sea. When Essex finally reached Dublin on 14 April 1599 he had spent eighteen days in a crossing that almost saw him drowned. (56) Moreover, Dekker's allusion to "his treasures spoyle" suggests a barbed reference to Essex's embarrassing failures in the Azores Voyage two years previously. (57) Nonetheless, by manifesting his failures alongside the persistent popularity of the Earl in the opening line above, where thoughts crown him monarch, Dekker underscores the divisive tensions provoked by Essex's displacement from court.

In the following action Dekker stages a remarkable commentary on not only Essex's moral and social placement, but also on Elizabeth's. (58) Bemoaning Agripyne's theft of his purse--in this instance, a metaphor for Elizabeth's favor, which was progressively withdrawn from Essex over the years that followed the death of his stepfather and patron, the Earl of Leicester, in 1588--Andelocia exclaims, "Ist not a shame that a kings daughter, a faire Lady, a Lady not for Lords, but for Monarches, should for gold sell her love" (4.1.18-20). This suggests the same sentiments that Essex railed against in the previous year during the Queen and courtier's most explosive outburst at court, when, according to Camden's account, Essex claimed that "he neither could nor would swallow so great an indignitie, nor would have borne it at King Henry the 8." (59) Nonetheless, Dekker presents Essex's devotion to his monarch and nation in close to chivalric terms: "England you'le say is yours: but Agripyne, / Love me, and I will make the whole world thine" (4.1.55-56). Referring to Essex's military accomplishments, and ensuing promises and boasts in his earlier years, Dekker presents Essex as a power ful adjunct to Elizabeth's authority. Instructing her loyal but liberty-loving subject/captor to reach her an apple (from the trees of Virtue and Vice), Agripyne commands him, "Clime up for Gods sake" "for Gods sake, gather some of these" (4.1.68, 73). Here Dekker echoes the phrase used so scathingly by Henry Sidney in 1567, after a young Elizabeth repeatedly restricted his powers of patronage in Ireland: "For God's sake," he wrote to Cecil, "take me out of this world." (60) When Agripyne leaves Andelocia deserted on Irish soil, the world he is left in threatens to change him irreparably:
   Sweete Agripyna, if thou hearst my voice,
   Take pittie of me, and returne againe.
   Shee flies like lightning: O she heares me not,
   I wish'd my selfe into a wildernesse,
   And now I shall turne wilde: here I shall famish,
   Here die, here cursing dye, here raving die,
   And thus will wound my brest, and rent mine hayre.

In this pitiful image of the forlorn Essex, Dekker conjures the dejected Earl's placeless existence on Irish soil. As Bernhard Klein argues, the Irish landscape represented a cartographically nebulous wilderness in which places and their inhabitants were essentially "uncharted" by English maps, customs, or laws. (61) Essex's self-imposed exile from the mapped certainties of court leads to a dejected loathing of his monarch, as Andelocia puns upon her abbreviated namesake (Diana) in the play's most explicit reference to the Queen: "Here die, here cursing dye, here raving die." In this instance, Dekker might himself have felt the sharpness of the pun as glancing at Elizabeth in such stark terms was to consciously place one's neck on the chopping block, as Essex's ill-fated rebellion would demonstrate in the coming year. Nevertheless, embedded in Andelocia's rant is an empathetic plea for Elizabeth to listen to her outcast subject: "if thou hearst my voice, / Take pity of me ... O she heares me not." In this instance, Dekker renders the disconsolate Essex's repeated and futile plea for a private audience with his monarch. Andelocia's raving in the final line, "will wound my brest," alludes, moreover, to the fabled pelican, a bird of the wilderness believed to revive and nourish its young with its own blood. In this conclusive warning to the court, Dekker offsets Essex's rebellious, reproductive potential to martyr himself against a barren and absent monarch, in the wake of Elizabeth's uncertain bestowal of England's crown.

That Essex had turned "wilde" in his isolation reflects the Earl's personal transformation following the Irish campaign. Indeed at the very time of Old Fortunatus's court performance, Essex was at perhaps his lowest point. Physically and mentally drained from his disastrous escapades and exhausting retreat to Westminster, the imprisoned Essex's health dissipated rapidly over the Christmas period. Suffering from dysentery (or "the Irish flux"), which he had contracted in Dublin, the Earl seemed, by the first week of December 1599 (three weeks before Dekker's Christmas performance), to be at death's door. Despite his failures, however, he remained Protestant England's champion. And the many disgruntled returning soldiers from the Irish campaign were, according to Robert Lacey, still in support of their general: "reports of bawdy tavern songs and slogans scrawled on walls in support of Essex and deriding Cecil increased the royal ire. Carousing men would break into cheers when they passed York House"--the place of Devereux's imprisonment from September 1599 to June 1600. (62) Indeed, the discord that Essex carried back to Elizabeth was both airborne and infectious, but its threat bore far greater potency to his monarch than a mere viral contraction.

Dekker portrays the Earl's influence through Andelocia's clandestine return to the English court in the concluding action of his play. Disguised as an Irish costermonger, the Cypriot gulls Princess Agripyne and her courtier-entourage, selling them the cursed "Tamasco apples" that he had picked in the (Irish) wilderness from Vice's tree:

Montrose: Apples to make a Lady beautifull? Madam thats excellent.

Agripyne: These Irishmen, Some say, are great dissemblers, and I feare, These two the badge of their owne countrie weare.

Andelocia: By my trat, and by Saint Patrickes hand, and as Creez save me la, tis no dissembler: de Irish man now and den cut di countrie-mans throate, but yet in fayt hee love di countrie-man, tis no dissembler: dis feene Tamasco apple can make di sweete countenance, but I can take no lesse but three crownes for one, I weare out my naked legs and my footes, and my tods, and run hidder and didder to Tamasco for dem.


As Dekker plays upon the belligerent and duplicitous nature of the traveling Irish merchant, he draws particular focus to themes of corporeal mobility. The enemies that Essex faced in Ireland were renowned for their perfect adaptation to the unmapped and displaced character of Irish space. They moved fluidly between bogs and fields, traversing through landscapes unsuited to conventional military passage. On 9 January 1599, Captain Thomas Reid wrote to Cecil regarding Essex's appointment as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, warning him of what he could expect from the Irishman's tactics: "his manner of fight will be by skirmishes in passes, bogs, woods, fords and in all places of advantage. And they hold it no dishonour to run away: for the best sconce and castle for their security is their feet." (63) Spenser would infamously relate the deviant mobility of the Irish "kerns" to their rural fortifications in his A View on the Present State of Ireland: "It is well known that he is a flying enemie, hiding himself in woodes and bogges, from whence he will not draw forth." (64) Dekker presents transgressive Irish mobility as synonymous with the hostile terrain that unfixed Essex's campaign.

The outcome of Andelocia's ruse sees Agripyne and her attendants sprout hideous horns upon their heads (5.1). And as the Cypriot marvels at his trickery, Dekker undertakes a final parody of Marlovian histrionics since the horns sported by Agripyne, Montrose, and Longavaile mirror those inflicted upon Marlowe's Benvolio, who suffered "two spreading horns most strangely fastened" in Doctor Faustus (4.1.123). Recalling such a memorable scene from a play performed by the Admiral's Men at least twenty-five times between 1594 and 1597, Dekker satirizes its popularity among the courtly "gulls" by ridiculing their deformity as "all the fashion now" (4.2.102). In this instance, Andelocia's voice slips smoothly from the register of Robert Devereux back to that of the playwright. In the following lines he boasts, moreover, that "ile proceede Doctor Dodipoll here" in a pointed allusion to the anonymously authored The Wisdom of Doctor Dodypoll (1600), a newfangled satire to be performed by the Children of Paul's that derided London's established playing companies. In this preemptive strike against the growing popularity of the children's troupe, Dekker exposes his (and his troupe's) own vulnerability to appropriation on the emerging places of English theatrical culture.

In the ensuing decades Dekker fashioned a foundational, if still undervalued, place for himself among the jostling playwrights and poets of early modern London. In doing so, however, he remained characteristically receptive to the social circles and fashions of his urban surroundings, conjuring the social, topographical, and professional places of Elizabethan London against the backdrop of a city he would deem, later in his career, to be both mother and provider of his scant fortunes. In 1606 he claimed that "from thy womb received I my being, from thy brests my nourishment"; nineteen years later Dekker's London was "Mother of my life, Nurse of my being." (65) Such lines intimately encapsulate the dependencies of the maturing professional poet and his place. That London's sprawling contours were transforming on such an unprecedented scale, however, made (and makes) Dekker's rendering of urban "places"--so riddled by economic division, disease, and the manifold social consequences of urbanization--all the more valuable as creative historical insights into the contextual spaces of late-Elizabethan performance. Moreover, by employing cartographic discourses to map the changing relationships between, and attitudes towards, socio-geographical placement in the tumultuous context of London in 1599, Dekker animated a class-based satire whose dramatic valence was magnified through its (perhaps unexpected) performance at Elizabeth's court. That he needlessly trod the wire at Whitehall with a risky digression on the socially tumbling Essex, however, suggests connections between the overreaching dramatist and the Icarian earl. For although Dekker's social and professional esteem was in the ascendancy while his counterpart had crashed and burned, their destructive and destabilizing instincts were perhaps both incited by the unsettling "wildness" of changing one's place.

Queen's University Belfast


(1) Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, trans. Donald Nicholson Smith (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991), 84.

(2) Tim Cresswell, Place: A Short Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004), 1, 12.

(3) Jody Berland, "Place," New Keywords: A Revised Vocabulary of Culture and Society, ed. Tony Bennett, Lawrence Grossberg, and Meaghan Morris (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005), 257.

(4) Yi-Fu Tuan, Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience (Minneapolis: U. of Minnesota Press, 1977), 6.

(5) Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Steven Rendall (U. of California Press, 1988).

(6) Andrew McRae, Literature and Domestic Travel in Early Modern England (Cambridge U. Press, 2009), 6.

(7) Randal Cotgrave, A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues (London, 1611), Ppp 6v.

(8) For the social positioning of gender see Susan Dwyer Amussen, An Ordered Society: Gender and Class in Early Modern England (Oxford: Blackwell, 1988); and for early modern apparel and social placement see Ann Rosalind Jones and Peter Stallybrass, Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory (Cambridge U. Press, 2000), 15-33.

(9) King James VI and I, Political Writings, ed. Johann P. Sommerville (Cambridge U. Press, 1994), 227.

(10) The traditional touchstone for the study of early modern social mobility is Laurence Stone, "Social Mobility in England, 1500-1700," Past and Present 33 (1966): 16-55; but for a more specific focus on London see Lawrence Manley, Literature and Culture in Early Modern England (Cambridge U. Press, 1995), 154, 394-96, 422-23; and on downward-mobility, Craig Dionne, "'Now For the Lord's Sake': Vagrancy, Downward Mobility, and Low Aesthetics," Early Modern Culture: An Electronic Seminar 7 (2008), http://emc.eserver. org/1-7/dionne_response.html.

(11) Patricia Fumerton, Unsettled: The Culture of Mobility and the Working Poor in Early Modern England (U. of Chicago Press, 2006), 1-11.

(12) Gall Kern Paster, The Idea of the City in the Age of Shakespeare (Athens, GA: U. of Georgia Press, 1985), 6-7.

(13) Jean E. Howard, Theater of a City: The Places of London Comedy, 1598-1642 (U. of Pennsylvania Press, 2007), 3.

(14) For an introduction to the "social crises" of the 1590s, see Ian Archer, The Pursuit of Stability (Cambridge U. Press, 1991), 9-14. The current study builds upon a developing critical trend of reading London dramatists in intimate proximity to the urban spaces that they inhabited. In particular see Lorna Hutson, Thomas Nashe in Context (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989); Andrew McRae, "On the Famous Voyage': Ben Jonson and Civic Space," Early Modern Literary Studies 3 (1998),; Tracey Hill, Anthony Munday and Civic Culture: Theatre, History, and Power in Early Modern London, 1580-1633 (Manchester U. Press, 2004); and James D. Mardock, Our Scene Is London: Ben Jonson's City and the Space of the Author (London: Routledge, 2008).

(15) Critics have long puzzled over Dekker's involvement in the play that Henslowe noted as "the first part of Fortunatus" in 1596, two years before he began to record dramatists' names in his diary. Henslowe recorded six performances of the anonymous play (of which no copy survives) between 3 February and 24 May, although no evidence exists for a second part. Not until 9 November 1599 was "fortunatus" mentioned again. See, Charles H. Herford, Studies in the Literary Relations of England and Germany in the Sixteenth Century (Cambridge, 1886), 203-19; Mary Leland Hunt, Thomas Dekker: A Study (New York: Russell & Russell, 1911), 30; E. K. Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage, 4 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1923), 1:373; George R. Price, Thomas Dekker: A Study (New York: Twayne, 1969), 43; and Cyrus Hoy, Introductions, Notes, and Commentaries to Texts in "The Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker," 4 vols. (Cambridge U. Press, 1978-80), 1:71-73. The most thorough stylistic analysis has been W. L. Halstead's finding, which claims three passages from the extant Old Fortunatus were taken from an earlier version. He asserts the presence of "a particular type of prose" laden with "parallelism and balance, repetition of words or of root-forms of the words, antithesis of idea, parisonic antithesis, animation of inanimate objects, alliteration regular and transverse, fabulous naturalism, play on words, and exaggerated comparisons." See "Notes on Dekker's Old Fortunatus," MLN 54 (1939): 351-52. Regrettably, as Hoy notes, Halstead gives no specific examples to quantify his claims (73n3).

(16) Anon., The Right, Pleasant, and Variable Tragical History of Fortunatus, trans. T. C. (London, 1676), 145, 146, 150.

(17) Carol Chillingham Rutter, ed., Documents of the Rose Playhouse (Manchester U. Press, 1984), 172-73. The sections that Dekker appears to have appended in this time, the Prologue and Epilogue for the Court and the Vice-Virtue subplot, brought the length of the play up to almost 3,000 lines.

(18) Fredson Bowers, ed., The Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker, 4 vols. (Cambridge U. Press, 1953), 1:115. All subsequent references to Old Fortunatus are from Bowers's edition.

(19) Quoted in Rutter, Documents of the Rose, 133-37.

(20) Peter C. Herman, "'O 'tis a gallant king': Shakespeare's Henry V and the Crisis of the 1590s," Tudor Political Culture, ed. Dale Hoak (Cambridge U. Press, 1995), 204-25.

(21) Darryll Grantley, London in Early Modern English Drama: Representing the Built Environment (Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 5.

(22) John Stow, Survey of London (London, 1599), 152-53. In this passage Stow also recorded that the church bells were "nightly rung at eight of the clocke," compounding Dekker's allusion to the London landmark, and not "some church in Famagosta," which Ernest Rhys erroneously notes in his compendium of Dekker's dramatic works, Thomas Dekker (London, 1887), 294 nl.

(23) Robert Finlay and Beatrice Shearer estimate the growth from approximately 120,000 in 1550, to 200,000 in 1600; 375,000 by 1650; 490,000 in 1700; and 675,000 by 1750. See "Population Growth and Suburban Expansion," London 1500-1700: The Making of the Metropolis, ed. Finlay and A. L. Beier (London: Longman, 1986), 39.

(24) Lena Cowen Orlin, "Boundary Disputes in Early Modern London," Material London, ca. 1600, ed. Lena Cowen Orlin (U. of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), 367. See also John Schofield's essay from the same collection, "The Topography and Buildings of London, ca. 1600," 296-321.

(25) Emily Cockayne, Hubbub: Filth, Noise and Stench in England 1600-1770 (Yale U. Press, 2007), 129.

(26) "Waxen kernels" was an early modern expression that, according to the OED, referred to "a hard glandular swelling in the neck or armpit or under the jaw," and may well hint at Nashe's precarious health. Though, according to Charles Nicholl, the exact circumstances and date of Nashe's death are unknown, it does seem likely that he had deteriorated over time; Charles Nicholl, "Thomas Nashe," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford U. Press, 2004-); cited hereafter as ODNB.

(27) Dekker himself paid tribute to Nashe when he accused "dry fisted Patrons" of causing the author's "untimely death" in 1607; see Larry M. Robbins, ed., Thomas Dekker's "A Knight's Conjuring" (1607): A Critical Edition (Paris: Mouton, 1974), 156.

(28) For a valuable discussion of border crossing and the spread of disease, see Paola Pugliatti, Shakespeare the Historian (Basingstoke, England: Macmillan, 1996), 119-36.

(29) For an overview of the "wild man" and its many literary guises, see Edward Dudley and Maximillian E. Novak, eds. The Wild Man Within: An Image in Western Thought from the Renaissance to Romanticism (U. of Pittsburgh Press, 1972), 1-7; and Dorothy Yamamoto, The Boundaries of the Human in Medieval English Literature (Oxford U. Press, 2000), 144-87.

(30) Mark Thornton Burnett, ed., Christopher Marlowe: The Complete Plays (London: Everyman, 1999), 1616/B-Text, 3.2. All subsequent references to Marlowe's plays are from Burnett's edition.

(31) William Carroll, Fat King Lean Beggar: Representations of Poverty in the Age of Shakespeare (Cornell U. Press, 1996), 9.

(32) James Shapiro, 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (London: Faber, 2005), 149.

(33) Plutarch's Lives, trans. Bernadotte Perrin, 11 vols. (London: Heinemann, 1919), 8:21-23.

(34) William Camden, Britannia, trans. Philemon Holland (London, 1637), 217-18.

(35) Dekker makes reference to the Romano-Egyptian geographer in a discussion concerning the ethnic origins of gypsies: "If they be Egyptians, sure I am they never descended from the tribes of any of those people that came out of the land of Egypt. Ptolemy king of the Egyptians, I warrant never called them his subjects; no, nor Pharaoh before him." See Lantern and Candlelight (1608) in A. V. Judges, ed., The Elizabethan Underworld (London: Routledge, 1930), 344.

(36) Jerry Brotton, Trading Territories: Mapping the Early Modern World (London: Reaktion, 1997), 32.

(37) According to modern geographical historians, Ptolemy was the "first geographer to establish a uniform coordinate system in degrees for specifying precise positions on the earth's surface." See J. Lennart Berggren and Alexander Jones, eds., "Introduction," Ptolemy's Geographia: An Annotated Translation of the Theoretical Chapters (Princeton U. Press, 2000), 14.

(38) Not until 1675 was the founding stone of Greenwich Royal Observatory laid by Charles II; in 1851 Sir George Airy established the Greenwich Meridian. See Derek Howse, Greenwich Time: And the Discovery of the Longitude (Oxford U. Press, 1980).

(39) Andrew Gurr, The Shakespearean Stage, 1574-1642 (Cambridge U. Press, 1970), 108.

(40) For a useful overview of dramatic representations of the City and Westminster, see Ian Archer, "London and Westminster," A Companion to Renaissance Drama, ed. Arthur F. Kinney (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002), 68-82.

(41) Shapiro, 1599, 29.

(42) Stephen Greenblatt et al., eds. The Norton Shakespeare (New York: Norton, 1997).

(43) John Dee, Preface, The Elements of Geometrie of the Most Auncient Philosopher Euclide of Megara (London, 1570), A4r.

(44) For a thorough analysis of the associative links between stage and map/globe, see John Gillies, Shakespeare and the Geography of Difference (Cambridge U. Press, 1994), 70-98.

(45) Philip Stubbes, The Anatomy of Abuses (London, 1583), L8v.

(46) Peter Holland, "'Travelling Hopefully": The Dramatic Form of Journeys in English Renaissance Drama," Travel and Drama in Shakespeare's Time, ed. Jean-Pierre Macquerlot and Michele Willems (Cambridge U. Press, 1996), 160-61.

(47) Stephen Greenblatt, Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare (U. of Chicago Press, 1980), 195.

(48) The shape of the old Banqueting House, according to Gurr, Shakespearean Stage, 107-8, was "a long square ... measuring 332 feet (101.2 metres) in circumference, 40 feet (12.2 metres) high, and fitted with 292 glass windows."

(49) Christine Eccles, The Rose Theatre (New York: Nick Hern, 1990), 24, 238.

(50) "Letter from Philip Gawdy, 16 November 1587" in Rutter, Documents of the Rose, 42.

(51) Cited in Brotton, Trading Territories, 23.

(52) De Certeau, Practice of Everyday Life, 92.

(53) Mary Anne Everett Green, ed., Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1598-1601 (London: Longman's, 1986), 225.

(54) The link between Dekker's play and the Essex rebellion was fleetingly suggested by Fredson Bowers, "Essex's Rebellion and Dekker's Old Fortunatus," RES n.s. 3 (1952): 365-66. Finding one leaf removed from over one-third of the extant copies, Bowers concludes that following Essex's outbreak (8 February 1601) "someone connected with the book seems to have taken alarm rather less than a year after initial publication" since "no other event between 1600 and 1603 parallels Dekker's lines so closely as the fall of Essex" (366).

(55) Francis Bacon, The Letters and the Life of Francis Bacon, ed. James Spedding, 2 vols. (London, 1861-62), 2:191.

(56) Paul E. J. Hammer, "Robert Devereux," ODNB.

(57) For a detailed account of the "Islands Voyage" see Robert Lacey's Robert Earl of Essex: An Elizabethan Icarus (London: Phoenix Press, 2001), 178-96.

(58) It is remarkable that Dekker's thinly veiled satire escaped any disciplinary action. After all, following Ben Jonson's 1603-4 Christmas court performance of Sejanus, the court favorite would have to defend himself against a charge of treason when he was called before the Privy Council by Lord Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, for his perceived comments on contemporary political events. Significantly however, it seems that Dekker's allusion to Elizabeth was recognized and remembered by Sir Thomas Overbury and Robert Carr, who nicknamed Anna of Denmark "Agrippina" in coded letters sent in 1613. See James Knowles, "'To Enlighten the Darksome Night, Pale Cinthia Doth Arise': Anna of Denmark, Elizabeth I and Images of Royalty,' Women and Culture at the Courts of Stuart Queens, ed. Clare McManus (Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillian, 2003), 35. Though Knowles misses the reference to Dekker's play, it would seem that "Agrippina" was used to characterize Anna's appropriation of Elizabeth I's queenship. I am indebted to Lisa Hopkins for this reference.

(59) William Camden, The History of the Most Renowned and Victorious Princess Elizabeth (London, 1635), 493.

(60) Brandi R. Siegfield, "Queen to Queen at Check: Grace O'Malley, Elizabeth Tudor, and the Discourse of Majesty in the State Papers of Ireland," Elizabeth I: Always Her Own Free Woman, ed. Carole Levin, Jo Eldridge Carney, and Debra Barrett-Graves (Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2003), 173n23.

(61) Bernhard Klein, Maps and the Writing of Space in Early Modern England and Ireland (Basingstoke, England: Macmillan, 2001), 61-77.

(62) Lacey, Robert Earl of Essex, 247.

(63) Ernest George Atkinson, ed., Calendar of State Papers: Ireland, 1598-1599 (London, 1895), 450.

(64) Edmund Spenser, A View of the Present State of Ireland, ed. Andrew Hadfield and Willy Maley (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997), 96.

(65) Dekker, The Seven Deadly Sinnes of London, ed. H. F. B. Brett-Smith (Oxford: Blackwell, 1922), 11; A Rod for Run-awaies in The Plague Pamphlets of Thomas Dekker, ed. F. P. Wilson (Oxford: Clarendon, 1925), 146.
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Author:Frazer, Paul
Publication:Philological Quarterly
Date:Sep 22, 2010
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