'To sleep, perchance to dream’: The politics of travel in the 1630s

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This article explores the reasons behind the use of a particular generic feature in Caroline travel writing — the dream or dream vision — in two mid- to late 1630s texts, William Davenant's generically complex poem ‘Madagascar. A Poem written to Prince Rupert, which was published in 1638, and Richard Brome's play The Antipodes (performed 1638, published 1640). In both texts a dream, or a dream vision, is central to the text's plot, but it is also important thematically; the travel described is presented as wholly imaginary which, paradoxically, I will argue, allows a searching critique of domestic politics (though it is nuanced in Davenant's text). Each text uses travel as a vehicle to explore the unease and tensions created by the years of Charles I's personal rule, and some of the political difficulties it created for the king and his subjects, as well as offering suggestions of potential ways to defuse the situation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-264
Number of pages15
JournalThe Yearbook of English Studies (YES)
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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