Chamberlain P G, 2001, "The Shakespearian globe: geometry, optics, spectacle" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 19(3) 317 – 333
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The Shakespearian globe: geometry, optics, spectacle
Paul G Chamberlain
Received 25 November 1998; in revised form 22 October 2000
Abstract. One of the most significant events that swept through Europe during the Renaissance was a renewed interest in oculocentrism, extending the power of vision, and disseminating it in more visually accessible ways. In this paper the concept of the globe is explored through the work of William Shakespeare by examining its links to geometry, optics, and spectacle in the context of the theatre and the world in which the poet lived. At the outset the globe is examined in relation to Shakespeare's playhouse, which exhibited strong Vitruvian antecedents. The optical manipulation of space is then explored through the use of globes in Shakespeare's literary landscape, illustrating that Elizabethans were not only familiar with these geographical models, but that Shakespeare reinforced these new ways of seeing the world on his audience. Finally, research illustrates that globes were not only in Shakespeare's dramaturgy, but the theatre was also in the world, and the paper explores in detail how spectacle was used by learned Elizabethans to represent the globe to themselves.
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