This essay responds to queer approaches to Edward II and instead explores the way Marlowe tests the limits of imaginative space by presenting challenging and untenable spaces with which his audience must engage. For example, when Edward II is asked to imagine Killingworth Castle as his court rather than his prison, the audience must reimagine a space they have yet to confront. This effect is magnified by the fact that the historical Kenilworth Castle is ghosted in mimetic or verbal representations of the fictional Killingworth. This essay shows that Marlowe’s spaces are not “empty,” but rather too full, a “problem” that engages the individual subjectivity of active audience participation. Significantly, this frustrates the development of English spatial identity that relies on the collective rather than the individual. In this way, Marlowe’s invocation of spatial imagination intervenes in and provides an alternative to English nation-making, while it fractures the collective effects of theater.

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