Space / Film: Place and the eco-cinematic sublime in five films of King Lear

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In forcing a delusional king to fold away his map and painfully traverse his domains on foot, Shakespeare’s King Lear offers an uncanny parable for the transformation of spatial studies by the environmental humanities. While spatial criticism has exposed certain ideologies lurking within assumptions about space as an intellectual construct prior to experience (as Immanuel Kant postulated) and generated path-breaking studies on Shakespeare, there is a growing consensus that the spatial turn could pivot even further to encompass the wider ecologies of our imperilled planet. As deftly outlined in the introduction to this volume, recent work in the field has emphasized the interplay between the subjective innerwelt and external umwelt to account for the shaping agency of the non-human. In a welcome move in this direction, Andrew Bozio has performed an incisive phenomenological reading of King Lear as anatomizing the mutually constitutive relationship between the embodied mind and its environment. In documenting the characters’ corporeal and mental sensitivity to the cold, wind and rain, the storm scene demonstrates the power of the biophysical world to co-construct our reality (and not simply vice versa). The hypothermic Lear’s descent into madness and the blindness of Gloucester, who may have already needed spectacles (1.2.36) and who continues to ‘see [the world] feelingly’ (4.6.145), can, therefore, be understood less as a nightmarish free fall into nothingness or a metaphysical void than ‘a weakening or attenuation of embodied location’....
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationShakespeare/Space
Subtitle of host publicationContemporary Readings in Spatiality, Culture and Drama
EditorsIsabel Karremann
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781350282995, 9781350282988, 9781350283008
ISBN (Print)9781350282971
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2024

Publication series

NameArden Shakespeare Intersections
PublisherThe Arden Shakespeare

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