This Session: The Stranger at the Door

Professor Nandini Das from the Department of English presents 'The Stranger at the Door'. Strangers were everywhere in Tudor England. They sometimes crop up on the stage in the 1580s and 90s, in the guise of Jews and Turks and the occasional blackamoors and Indians. At the same time, English life and culture was being transformed by the first and second-generation continental Europeans who settled in Tudor England in large numbers. This lecture, part of a larger project about perceptions of identity, mobility, and belonging in sixteenth and seventeenth century England, examines Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors against the backdrop of such dramatic predecessors and contemporary social and legal discourses about 'strangers', 'foreigners', and 'aliens'. How did you identify one? How long did one remain a stranger? And what happened when the stranger entered your everyday world, when 'strangeness', to borrow Geoffrey Hill's evocative phrase, turned into 'strange likeness'?

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