• Battle of Agincourt, 1415, from the "St. Alban's Chronicle" (15th century).
    Battle of Agincourt, 1415, from the "St. Alban's Chronicle" (15th century).

Michael Saenger’s latest monograph, Shakespeare and the French Borders of English, is a comprehensive theorization of Shakespeare’s relationship to France. It forges important links among developments in queer theory, feminism, early modern social history, and the study of language. It offers many insights into Shakespeare’s works, including a precise date for the composition of King Lear.

Early modern England owed a deep historical, lexical, and cultural debt to France. Despite this debt, England was anxious to assert itself amid the new and unstable climate of the Reformation, the Renaissance, the book trade, the growth of commerce, and the development of the early modern nation. In order to do so, England pursued a series of conflicting advancements: to learn French, to study Anglo-French history, and to glorify England. Shakespeare and the French Borders of English emerges from an interdisciplinary conversation about theories of translation and the role of foreign language in fiction and society. By analyzing Shakespeare’s treatment of France, Saenger interrogates the cognitive borders of England–a border that was more dependent on languages and ideas than it was on governments and shorelines.


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