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Shakespeare's Letters$
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Alan Stewart

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199549276

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199549276.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 January 2022

Shakespeare and the Carriers

Shakespeare and the Carriers

(p.115) 3 Shakespeare and the Carriers
Shakespeare's Letters

Stewart Alan

Oxford University Press

The Gadshill robbery shows how an unholy alliance between career criminals and their high-ranking protectors preyed on a crucial infrastructure of early modern England that has been largely lost to the modern view: the network of carriers and carriers' inns on which so much communication depended. The carrier not only provided the primary means of contact in Elizabethan England between London and provincial towns, but also constituted a way of understanding the capital for the provincial men and woman. In Henry IV Part One, William Shakespeare presents the system of carriers and the inns that sheltered them as under threat from precisely those London-dwellers whose lives and livelihoods it makes possible. This chapter attempts to restore the carriers to their rightful place in the play — and in the life of the playwright, since Shakespeare's own relationship with the carrier system is revealed in the single piece of his surviving correspondence.

Keywords:   Gadshill robbery, England, carriers, London, William Shakespeare, play

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