This essay examines Shakespeare’s representation of sacred space in As You Like It and argues that the play should be read as Shakespeare’s imaginative commentary on a changing culture of sacred spaces at the end of a century of religious reformation. Drawing on J. Z. Smith’s work, in which he distinguishes between “locative” and “utopian” attitudes toward sacred space, as well as on Michel Foucault’s concept of heterotopia, the essay argues that it is in the borderland or “fringe” of Arden that new configurations of sacred space emerge. The figure that embodies the spatial logic of the periphery, situated on Arden’s fringe between the locative or carefully emplaced world of France and the utopian wilderness of the forest, is the transvestite figure of Rosalind. She and her dwelling place also stand for the larger space of the theater in its heterotopic function as a site that reimagines sacred space by developing mediatory interactions between what feminist geographer Gillian Rose terms fantasy, discourse, and the body in the performance of space.
Research Article|January 01 2013
Helga L. Duncan; “Here at the Fringe of the Forest”: Staging Sacred Space in As You Like It. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 1 January 2013; 43 (1): 121–144. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10829636-1902567
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