Settled and Unsettling: Space, Place, and Labour in Heywood’s King Edward IV (1599)

Ann Christensen


This essay explores Heywood’s treatment of spatial and economic mobility in The Two Parts of King Edward IV, in a plot that, I argue, pivots on the tension between domesticity and travel. I show that Matthew Shore, like the male householders in A Woman Killed with Kindness and The English Traveller, seeks to maintain traditional hierarchical relationships, values, and virtues inherent in home-dwelling and stasis, on the one hand; yet, on the other hand, his civic and vocational “callings” require mobility and occasion absence. Rather than static binaries, domesticity and travel shift as both settings for action and as containers of signification. I argue that Heywood uses the ‘dramaturgy of the doorway’ to locate immediate domestic conflict and broader cultural concerns about the impact of commercial expansion on the family and the nation. Heywood’s windows, city gates, and domestic thresholds are (literally) multivalent sites for theatrical and social possibility. In this way, my essay addresses the volume’s interest in early modernity’s spatial paradigms by using the categories of gender, genre, economies, and dramaturgy.


Heywood, labour, space, unsettled subjects

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