Shakespeare's Princes of Wales spotlights the surprising abundance of princes of Wales-English and Welsh alike-appearing onstage in the late Tudor and early Stuart period. In drawing our attention to the oft-overlooked and frequently misunderstood Welsh inheritance, and in investigating its staged and shadowed heirs in plays and court performances by Shakespeare, Peele, Fletcher, Jonson, and more, Marisa R. Cull suggests that the growing scholarly interest in Wales's influence on English national identity must be conditioned by the political and theatrical specificity of the princedom. Illuminating the princedom's unique role as an extension of the Welsh past in contemporary England, Shakespeare's Princes of Wales reveals early modern English culture's understanding of the princedom as linked to England's most pressing national crises: the tenuous connection between bloodline and succession, the anxiety over England's native strength, and the fraught process of fashioning a British state.
In the pages of this book, we meet familiar characters-Hal, Glendower, Fluellen, and more-wholly transformed through the added insights about the princedom, and encounter long-ignored or forgotten heirs, meaningfully resurrected for the insights they provide on the Anglo-Welsh past. In telling the story of the early modern princedom, Shakespeare's Princes of Wales offers new insights not only into that period's politics and theater, but also into a title that survives, in continued complexity, to this day.
Marisa R. Cull is an Assistant Professor of English at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia.
Introduction: Welsh Princes, English Playwrights ; 1. The Princedom of Wales as Political Stage ; 2. England's Hope? Shadowed Heirs in Shakespeare's Histories ; 3. <"Victorious stock> ": The <"Native> " Prince in Edward III, Edward I and Henry V ; 4. Princes, Playhouses, and the Politics of Empire: Henry Frederick and the Investiture of 1610 ; 5. Anticipating the Revolution: The Princedom in Decline ; Epilogue: Beyond the Renaissance