This essay introduces and assesses the importance of philosophical, geographical, and anthropological understandings of “space” and “place” for literary and dramatic scholars. In the process, it asks its own questions about the political use and control of space, and how we might talk of an ideology or hegemony of space and place. The essay then specifically studies dramatic examinations of place and space (with close reading of several moments from Hamlet and King Lear) to delineate the various ways in which spaces are occupied by actors and audience members, and the extent to which multiple (parallel or virtual) realities are manufactured and manipulated by temporal and aural, as well as spatial, phenomena. A number of the essay’s theoretical, political, practical, material, and aesthetic matters are taken up in the essays that follow in this special issue.

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