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date: 25 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

When Hotspur imagines his final battlefield encounter with Prince Hal in Shakespeare’s 1 Henry 4, he specifically characterizes it as one between two ‘hot horses’ as well as their two riders. Past scholarship on the queer relationship between Hotspur and Prince Hal has overlooked the way it channels desire through these equine partners. This essay uses cognitive theories of embodied mind alongside accounts of early modern horsemanship to locate Hotspur and Hal in a chivalric tradition that dissolves the boundaries—physical, cognitive, and erotic—between human and animal. This essay argues that to fully appreciate the genuinely provocative range of the play’s queer potentialities we must consider how it represents the distribution of desire, identity, and agency across both bodies and species.

Keywords: affordances, embodied cognition, cognitive theory, kinaesthesia, manège riding

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