Enclosure of the English Commons Criticism: Early Reaction To Enclosure - Essay

Criticism: Early Reaction To Enclosure

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “‘Like the Old Robin Hood’: As You Like It and the Enclosure Riots,” Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 1 (Spring, 1992): 1-19.

[In the following essay, Wilson discusses enclosure in the 1590s and its reflection in Shakespeare's As You Like It, suggesting that neither enclosure itself nor literature dealing with it were confined to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.]

In September 1592, while plague and riot gripped London, Queen Elizabeth made a progress into the West Midlands and was welcomed with pageants devised by John Lyly as a prospectus of pastoral England. When she crossed the Thames at Bisham, a “wilde man” sprang from...

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