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date: 27 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

As Jane Kingsley-Smith has demonstrated, the prominence of exile in Shakespeare’s canon was influenced by contemporary debates as well as literary models (Shakespeare’s Drama of Exile, 2003). Exile was highly topical in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, not least because of the presence of English Catholics overseas, particularly in France, the Low Countries and Spain. This had consequences for the development of Catholic identity, and for the ways in which Catholics interacted with English Protestant society, as well as the Catholic continent. This chapter explores the engagement of English Catholics with continental Europe, including the polemic produced in exile, and how this informed political issues in England. More specifically in relation to Shakespeare’s plays, it discusses how the treatment of exile in Richard II may have been suggestive of contemporary debates about English Catholics overseas.

Keywords: Exile, English Catholic, Polemic, Richard II, France, Spain, Low Countries

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