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The Absence of AmericaThe London Stage, 1576-1642$
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Gavin Hollis

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198734321

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198734321.001.0001

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“Where America, the Indies?” London Theater and the New World

(p.1) Introduction
The Absence of America

Gavin Hollis

Oxford University Press

This introduction establishes the critical parameters of the project in relation to the centrality of the idea of the New World to new historicism and its marginality in subsequent critical examinations of drama’s representation of the foreign and the strange. It examines how the theater was implicated in the New World, by tracing the networks of affiliation that connected the playhouses to investors and interest groups and to other sites of knowledge where the matters of the New World were disseminated (primarily the bookstall and the pulpit). It then examines how London theater catered towards and cultivated a sense of its playgoers as knowledgeable of foreign matters, including news from the New World; and how it did so through London comedy. In closing it returns to the Jamestown prayer, using it as a gateway to explore the ways in which theatrical representation was troubling for advocates of transatlantic colonization.

Keywords:   Virginia, America, New World, absence, representation, new historicism, print culture, playhouses

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