Would Shakespeare Join the EDL?: Nationalism and National Poets – Josh Mcloughlin

Josh Mcloughlin is co-founder and editor at Sonder.


The question ‘Would Shakespeare Join the EDL?’ is, of course, is a facetious one, but it brings together two key points: firstly, that nationalism is once again centre-stage in British politics and second, that Shakespeare remains the cultural icon of English national identity par excellence 400 years after his death.

2015 might, to posterity, be seen as the year which disclosed a crisis in the national identity of the UK in general, and English national identity in particular. A shock General Election has divided the country: SNP ministers and English Tories have split the nation politically in two. 2015 also saw Royal Shakespeare Company productions of Richard II Henry IV parts 1 & 2 and Henry V – the most ‘English’ of all the bard’s works. Across cultural and political arenas, that is, there has been a focus on national identity unparalleled in recent years. At beginning of the twenty-first century, who can say what the political and cultural make-up of the British Isles will be in  a hundred years time? In much the same way, at end of the sixteenth- going in to the seventeenth-century, Shakespearean drama proved to be anything but the universal repository of ‘Englishness’ which later humanist (and nationalist) critics would make out. This essay doesn’t bother posing the question ‘What is Englishness’, since there is no such thing. Rather, it deconstructs two of the plays – Richard II and Henry V, both of which have received recent treatment by the RSC – used most often to try to anchor that illusory national identity, whether it pertains to the EDL or to Lawrence Olivier’s propagandist film adaptations during and after WWII. At the beginning of a century in which nationalism seems once again on the rise, both in the UK and across Europe, this essay will see just how ‘National’ that most national of poets really is. In the end, ‘Englishness’ and ‘England’, just as they are today, emerge as unstable categories extant only in the language used to articulate them. Right at the heart of ideological ‘England’ – the Bard himself and his canonical nationalist works – we will see that English national identity collapses when read with a proper attention to the equivocating qualities of dramatic language.

Philip Schwyzer says that ‘Henry V is traditionally regarded as the most English of the English histories, and hence all of Shakespeare’s works,’ pointing out that ‘the words ‘England’ and ‘English’ resound through the play, occurring more than one hundred times’.[2] He adds that Richard II contains ‘the most well-known celebration of ‘England’ found in Elizabethan literature’ – referring to John of Gaunt’s famous ‘this scept’red isle’ speech (II.i.40-50).[3] Schwyzer draws attention to the fact that national identity is central to Shakespeare’s history plays, and that Henry V and Richard II are vital to Shakespeare’s project of dramatizing the English nation. In noting that ‘‘England’ and ‘English’ resound through the play’, Schwyzer also connects language and national identity. The suggestion is that language is constitutive of identity, since the repetition of ‘England’ and ‘English’ is given as the reason for why the play is ‘the most English of the English histories’.

Whilst I agree with him on the connection between language and identity in Richard II and Henry V, Schwyzer never fully realises a reading of either play which is alive to the productive effect of language on identity. Schwyzer focusses on the differences between Gaunt’s literary ‘England’ and ‘England’ as an extra-discursive fact,  emphasising the ‘historical’ inaccuracies of Gaunt’s panegyric as it appropriates ‘a version of Britishness that served English interests’.[4] Schwyzer ignores the way in which identity, including English national identity, is a product of language, and especially of dramatic language. Charles R. Forker, editor of the third Arden edition of the play, sees Gaunt’s speech as ‘griev[ing] for his country and its reputation’.[5]  Like Schwyzer, Forker implies a stable, extra-discursive Englishness, a national identity which is the object of Gaunt’s verbal ‘grie[f]’. Peter Burke sees Gaunt’s speech as determined by the spectre of the Spanish armada, which he affirms as ‘the context in which we should read Shakespeare’s famous verses’.[6] Burke locates a ‘positive national consciousness’ – England as a stable fact – anchored against a historical backdrop of the Spanish armada, which is re-presented in Richard II.[7] Likewise, for Herbert Grabes, Henry V and its eponymous king stand, simply, ‘as England’.[8] What connects Schwyzer, Forker, Burke and Grabes is the assumption that Shakespeare’s histories capture or represent an England ‘out there’. The assumption is that Gaunt’s literary England can be disentangled from a geographical, historical and political ‘reality’ or that Henry is a dramatic version of an external, ‘historical’ English identity. In so doing, all three ignore the way in which identity is a product of language; that is, a presence which exists within language, and not something in the world which language, as nomenclature, points to. The idea begins with Ferdinand de Saussure, who noted that ‘in language there are only differences, without positive terms’, meaning that linguistic signifiers – like ‘England’ – do not point to anything in the world, and refer only to other signifiers.[9]  After Saussure post-structuralism, especially in the work of Jacques Derrida, realised the consequences of this way of thinking about language for our understanding of identity:

What is it that Saussure in particular reminded us of? That ‘language [which consists only of differences] is not a function of the speaking subject’. This implies that the subject or even conscious of self-identity, self-conscious is inscribed in the language, that he is a function of language.[10]

In other words language constructs, defines and regulates all forms of identity. For Shakespeare’s history plays, the implication is that these plays function less as representations of ‘England’ as  ‘historical’ fact and more as imaginative cultural productions seeking to encode a stable and discrete English national identity in dramatic language. Jacques Lacan has also theorised the connection between language and identity. In Lacanian theory, aphanisis is the term used to describe the necessary eclipsing of presence by the signifier used to posit that very presence. Lacan says “when the subject appears somewhere as meaning, he is manifested elsewhere as ‘fading’, as disappearance…aphanisis“.[11] Combing Derrida and Lacan, we can say that language, the signifier which posits identity (and identity, for Derrida, is synonymous with ‘presence,’ the word used by Lacan) always-already contains within in the threat of undoing the very identity and presence it makes possible.[12] Schwyzer, Forker and others overlook how, in the equivocating structure of language, Shakespeare’s drama radically destabilises the notion of Englishness even as it makes that identity legible. Richard II meditates profoundly on English national identity, seeking to manifest a concrete Englishness in the imagery and verbal techniques of dramatic language, producing a linguistic mapping of national identity which apes the strategies Elizabethan cartography. In the end, however, the ‘play of signification’ overturns that fragile English identity.[13] Likewise, in Henry V, the attempt to fix English identity against French linguistic otherness is undermined because dramatic language, even as it posits difference, discloses enduring connections between English identity and its French other. Combining Derrida and Lacan, I will show how the ‘play of signification’ which language invariably propagates leads to an aphanitic ‘fading’ of the English national identity Richard II and Henry V supposedly ground.[14]

Mapping England:  Richard II

Since the early seventeenth-century, Gaunt’s panegyric on ‘this scep’tred isle’ (II.i.40) has represented English nationhood. Robert Allott used an excerpt in Englands Parnassus: or the choysest flowers of our moderne poets.[15] Under  Allot’s heading, ‘Of Albion’, the passage claims a coherent Englishness in the same way Grabes argues Henry V stands, dramatically, ‘as England’.[16] The stability of Englishness is anchored in a time before conquest of Britain when, as Geoffrey of Monmouth recounted, ‘the island was named Albion’.[17] Just as Gaunt’s speech is elegiac, concerned with the past, so Allot’s heading ‘Of Albion’ harks back to a mythical Britain. That Allot uses poetry to codify Englishness points to the centrality of language in general and the sensitivity of dramatic-poetic language in particular for constructing national identity. Indeed, in a recent work Margaret Tudeau-Clayton surmises that Gaunt’s speech harks back to a ‘homogenous ‘happy breed of men’ inhabiting a bounded totality’.[18]   I agree with Tudeau-Clayton on Gaunt’s objective. Yet the relationship between language and identity – where the ‘play of signification’ radically undermines identity as a ‘bounded totality’ even as it posits it – is overlooked in Tudeau-Clayton’s account. Close attention to the language of Gaunt’s speech reveals the strategies for inscribing English identity in language:

This royal throne of kings, this scept’red isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England… (II.i.40-50)

Gaunt’s speech affirms what Derrida calls ‘the determination of being as presence’, the view that immediacy, presence and being are markers of truth, in this meaning case the unequivocal truth of ‘this England’.[19] The repetition of ‘this’ seeks to bring language into immediate contact with its objects through deixis – ‘this earth’ (my emphasis) – employing language to situate ‘England’ as fully present to the utterance which describes it. In Derridean parlance, Gaunt’s oration ‘determin[e]s [English] being as presence’ through deictic language which invokes immediacy. That rhetorical strategy mimics the imagery in the speech, which turns on a succession of apparently concrete, material objects: ‘throne’ ‘earth’, ‘fortress’, ‘stone’, ‘wall’ and ‘house’. These objects function to conjure the materiality of Englishness in order to supplement the idealism of other terms in the speech: ‘majesty’ ‘happy’ and ‘precious’. This reaches a climax as Gaunt says ‘this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England’, doubling steady number – hitherto either once or twice used –  of ‘this’ in the previous lines. ‘This’, then, represents the deictic signifier used by Gaunt to ‘determine’ the presence of England and therefore to manifest the English national identity in language.

This preoccupation with rendering England unequivocally present, however, is undermined by what Derrida calls the ‘play of signification’; and Gaunt’s language betrays ‘England’ as unstable, far from the ideal ‘fortress’ mapped in his oration. Gaunt’s strategy mimics Elizabethan cartography, another discourse concerned with national identity, and a comparison with map-making illuminates how Gaunt’ speech ultimately discloses the fragility of his idealised England. Richard Helgerson has noted the importance of maps to national identity in his discussion of Christopher Saxton’s maps, published in 1579.[20] Saxton’s maps codify England as Queen Elizabeth’s sole possession, a single territory with a discrete identity linked to and by the monarch: ‘these maps proclaim royal sovereignty over the kingdom as a whole and over each of its provinces’ (my emphasis).[21] Saxton’s maps visualize a discrete, unified territory, a ‘whole’ England whose multiple ‘provinces’ all constitute Elizabeth’s singular domain. What Saxton did visually for English national identity, Shakespeare’s play does linguistically. Gaunt’s is an imaginative, literary ‘mapping’ which seeks to verbalise a discrete entity – England or Englishness – in the same way Saxton’s map attempts to visualizes England ‘as a whole’. Saxton’s cartographical rendering of England’s trees, hills and ships (fig.1) aim at materialising English identity through concrete objects.[22] Gaunt’s speech likewise ‘points’ at English identity using concrete literary imagery: ‘throne’ ‘earth’, ‘fortress’, ‘stone’, ‘wall’ and ‘house’. Yet ‘the needs of cartographic representation are such that, for it to be successful, information concerning such matters as royal patronage or sovereignty must be pushed to the side’.[23] Symbols of royal power, which undergird the ‘whole[ness]’ of English national identity, are necessarily marginalised: the frontispiece depicting Elizabeth and the Royal Seals which appear in the corners of the individual provincial maps are marginal and separate, para-textual and para-cartographic entities which are altogether apart from the images with which they are supposed to exist in plenitude.

Helgerson does not employ a Lacanian framework, but what he describes is certainly aphanisis because Saxton’s maps, the signifiers used to posit the indomitable presence of Elizabeth and her royal sovereignty, cause a ‘fading’ or marginalisation of that presence.[24] The result is that English identity loses its royal foundation and cannot be thought of ‘as a whole’, since it was only ever royal power which underwrote that ‘whole[ness], that identity.[25] In Derridean terms, ‘in the absence of a centre or origin, everything becomes discourse’ resulting in an equivocating ‘play of signification’.[26] The loss of a royal ‘centre’ in Saxton’s cartography undermines the notion of ‘England’ as something with a fully present meaning. ‘England’ therefore, is subject to the ‘play of signification’, precluding the possibility of a mapping stable English national identity.

In the same way, textual signifiers and their equivocating meanings undermine Gaunt’s intention, causing a ‘fading’ of the literary ideal of English national identity. Gaunt insists that England is ‘eden[ic]’, but the prefix to that praise is ‘this other Eden’ (II.i.42 – my emphasis), and so Gaunt actually differentiates England from perfection. The coupling of ‘this [and] other’ verbalises the equivocation Derrida argues invades the heart of every presence, the otherness in every identity and, crucially, the fragility of the ‘England’ Gaunt idealises in language because ‘this’ loses its deictic immediacy and English identity is ‘other[ed]’ and deferred. For Roland Barthes, textual language ‘practices the infinite post-ponement of the signified’.[27] The signified which Gaunt reaches for is ‘England’, but with ‘this other Eden’, the attempt at perfection (‘eden’) fails to mask the deferral of English national identity caused by the incursion of the term ‘other’ into that project. The result is the ‘infinite postponement’ of ‘this England’ and with it a stable English national identity. Likewise ‘demi-paradise’ (II.i.42) for all its  positive connotation, also brings with it separation and difference. The OED defines ‘demi-‘ when used a prefix, as ‘half, half-sized, partial(ly), curtailed, inferior’.[28] In the same way Saxton’s map ultimately precludes England ‘as a whole’, Gaunt’s literary map of England is split by the equivocations of language itself, and that wholeness is fatally ‘curtailed,’ split by the ‘play of signification’ in the very dramatic language which appears to make English national identity legible. Just as Saxton’s maps are royal commissions which ultimately marginalise monarchical power and presence, so Gaunt’s speech effects an aphanitic elision of the presence of English national identity.[29] Gaunt’s intended boast of England’s former military might – ‘this seat of Mars’ – discloses the internal conflict which alienates England from itself. Indeed Gaunt suggests the equivocating status of Englishness when he shifts the demonstrative pronoun from ‘this to ‘that England that was wont to conquer others,/Has made a shameful conquest of itself’ (II.i). Gaunt is referring to political tensions in the realm but, taken as an idea, ‘shameful conquest of itself’ delineates the way in which England is fundamentally divided and not, as Tudeau-Clayton suggests, ‘a bounded totality’.[30] Ultimately the ‘play of signification’ in Gaunt’s dramatic language leads to an aphanitic ‘fading’ of the very presence it was designed to secure.

English Selves and French Others: Henry V

If Gaunt’s speech looks inwards to inscribe English national identity in dramatic language, Henry V looks outwards, positing an ideal, English deployment of language in opposition to the French. Henry orders ‘none of the French [be] upbraided or abused in disdainful language’ (III.vii.95-96) and later says ‘Yet forgive me, God,/That I do brag thus. This is your air of France/Hath blown that vice in me. I must repent’ (III.vii.133-135).[31] The play constructs a clear opposition between English and French discourse in order to define England against that (inferior) otherness. The English show restraint and humility in language and action compared with the arrogant French:

Constable: Tut, I have the best armour of the world! Would it were day.

Orléans: You have an excellent armour, but let my horse have his due.

Constable: It is the best horse in Europe.

French bravado, emphasised in the ludicrous repetitions of ‘would it were day’ (III.viii.1-2), ‘what a long night is this!’ (III.viii.11) and ‘Will it never be day?’ (III.viii.72-73) throws Henry’s humility into relief: ‘We would not seek a battle as we are,/Nor as we are we say we will not shun it’ (III.vii.146-147). The play polarizes English and French identities in different modes of discourse, the one brash, arrogant and laughable; the other humble and virtuous but brave and Godly: ‘We are in God’s hand, brother, not in theirs’ (III.vii.151).                                                                                          Indeed, the play is framed by a prologue which places England and France in direct opposition, as ‘two mighty monarchies/Whose high upreared and abutting fronts/The perilous narrow ocean parts asudner’ (‘Prologue’ 20-22). England is a stable entity posited against France as a threatening other. Indeed, Michael Quinn has noted that Shakespeare’s plays carry over many of the historiographical motivations of their sources, in particular ‘demonstrat[ing] the glory of the nation’.[32] The desire to constitute Englishness as totality, as wholeness, as ‘the nation’, manifests itself in Lawrence Olivier’s 1944 film production.[33] The famous ‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more’ (III.i.1) war-cry takes place in perfect sunshine, and Henry’s armour is pristine, with no hint of the fighting which has gone before (fig.2). The ground betrays no bloodshed and Henry’s white horse, signifying pureness, links England to stainlessness and that stainlessness also signifies wholeness and unity. What Olivier’s adaptation does, then, is to present English national identity as a unified and stable fact whose virtue is representable on screen by those markers of perfection and wholeness: the armour, the horse, the blue skies, the green, blood-free ground, the indomitable loyalty and confidence of the English army against the weak and arrogant French.

Yet, that same ‘narrow ocean’ also connects England and France, and is all the more ‘perilous’ for doing so, since it threatens to undo the opposition between England and France on which the play depends if it is to present a coherent English identity. The language-learning scene (III.iv) can be read as a comic mocking of the French language, asserting English as superior since the watching audience is placed in a position of authority over Katherine’s child-like attempts at speaking English. Karen Newman goes further, insisting the play as a whole and particularly the scenes with Katherine speaking English ‘domesticate [her] difference’ with the result that ‘Katherine is not only ‘Englished’ but silenced as well’.[34] This implies an unproblematic sublation of French by English: Henry conquers Katherine and her French language in the same way his soldiers vanquish the French King’s forces.

In fact, the intersection of French and English language in Katherine’s language-learning scene discloses the fundamental equivocation at the heart of audible language, as homonyms undermine both the intended meaning of the speaker and the strict opposition of languages Newman affirms. Just as Gaunt tries to concretise England and Englishness in language with his materialist literary maping, so too does Katherine seek to apply language to immediate presences, mapping the body. In Kenneth Brannagh’s 1989 production, Emma Thompson as Katherine pointedly looks at and addresses her hands as she learns the English names (fig.3). Yet, undergirding this apparently immediate relationship between words and things – language as nomenclature – is the reminder that the ‘play of signification’ exceeds spoken language.  The idea, which Derrida calls différance, describes how written language is an essential supplement to spoken language, and cannot be contained by speech.[35] Shakespeare puns on the English ‘foot’ and ‘count’, eliciting the French ‘foutre’ and ‘con’ for comic effect through their similarity to English swear words. The difference between English and French, that is, is radically unsettled, since the watching English audience can interpret these foreign words and make sense of them. This demonstrates how language – whether employed to name a hand or set fingers, the presence of a speaker, or to dramatize the totality of a national identity  and its opposition to alien national characters – always undermines the presence it functions to materialise. The opposition the play sets up between England and France relies on a difference between two languages. Yet the English language is ‘French-ed’ just as much as Katherine is ‘Englished’.  Insofar as this scene is supposed to manifest English national identity against French opposition, the uncertainty it actually discloses about the separateness of English and French makes it aphanitic, much in the same way Gaunt’s dramatic language cannot help but destabilise the English national identity it functions to inscribe.


Schwyzer, Forker, Grabes and Burke all fail to account for the equivocating nature of all forms of language, and  overlook the fact that Shakespeare’s language radically destabilises the notion of Englishness even as it makes that identity legible. Henry’s England and its language retain an unsettling connection to its French opposites, and cannot maintain the political and social separateness from the French which it need to posit a stable and discrete English identity. In the same way Gaunt’s literary mapping of England, like Saxton’s maps, discloses the truth of a fragile, equivocating idea of Englishness even as it attempts to ‘determin[e] [English] being as presence’. Shakespeare’s history plays, then, demonstrate the process of aphanisis on a national scale: just as Lacan says that “when the subject appears somewhere as meaning, he is manifested elsewhere as ‘fading’, as disappearance’, so the patriotic signifiers in ‘the most English of the English histories’ and the play containing ‘the most well-known celebration of ‘England’ found in Elizabethan literature’ undermine the very identity they make legible.[36] The more powerfully the idea of England is represented, the more the stability of that idea fades, and it is the ‘play of signification’ which causes that equivocation, that aphanisis. In other words, not much has changed: English national identity is as shakey now as it has always been; harking back to a ‘golden age’ of English cultural production to condemn a perceived decline in ‘British’ values in our own time is historically naive, at best. Yet it discloses the fundamental instability of all nationalisms: they are products of cultural and political signification, anchored in nothing but the language – be it verbal or visual – of their articulation.


Figure 1: Saxton’s Map of Hampshire (1579)


Figure 2: Lawrence Olivier as Henry V (1945)


Figure 3: Princess Katherine’s deictic language learning in Kenneth Brannagh’s 1989 film production



Allot, Roger. Englands Parnassus: or the choysest flowers of our moderne poets (London: 1600) [found online at Early English Books Online http://goo.gl/GgX3wf accessed 19/04/15]

Baskin, Wade (trans.) de Saussure, Ferdinand. Course in General Linguistics (London: Mcgraw, 1959)

Brannagh, Kenneth. Henry V (1989)

Burke, Peter. ‘Nationalisms and Vernaculars: 1500-1800’ in Bruielly, John. (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of The History of Nationalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)

Faletra, Michael A. (trans & ed) Monmouth, Geoffrey. The History of the Kings of Britain (London: Broadview, 2008)

Forker, Charles R. (ed.) King Richard II (London: Methuen, 2002)

Grabes, Herbert. (ed.) Writing the Early Modern English Nation: The Transformation of National Identity in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century England (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2001)

Gurr, Andrew. (ed.) King Henry V (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009)

Helgerson, Richard. Forms of Nationhood: The Elizabethan Writing of England (London: University of Chicago Press, 1992)

Howard, Richard. (trans.) Barthes, Roland. The Rustle of Language (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986)

Maley, Willy and Tudeau-Clayton, Margaret. (eds.) This England, That Shakespeare: New Angles on Englishness and the Bard (London: Ashgate, 2010)

Newman, Katherine. ‘Englishing the Other: ‘le tiers exclu’ and Shakespeare’s Henry V,’ Fashioning Femininity and English Renaissance Drama (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991)

Olivier, Lawrence. Henry V (1944)

Quinn, Micheal. (ed.) Shakespeare: Henry V (London: Macmillan, 1969)

Rivkin, Julie and Ryan, Michael. (eds.) Literary Theory: An Anthology (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004)

Saxton, Christopher. Atlas of the Counties of England and Wales (London: 1580) [found at Early Modern English Books Online http://goo.gl/L21sgw accessed 19/04/15]

Schwyzer, Phillip. Literature, Nationalism and Memory in Early Modern England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004)

Sheridan, Alan. (trans.) Lacan, Jacques. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis (London: Norton, 1998)

Spivak, Gayatri. (trans.) Derrida, Jacques. Writing and Difference (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978)

Spivak, Gayatri. (trans.) Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997)

[2] Philip Schwyzer, Literature, Nationalism and Memory in Early Modern England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), p.126

[3] Schwyzer, p.4     All line references are to Charles R. Forker (ed.), King Richard II (London: Methuen, 2002)

[4] Schwyzer, p.5-6

[5] Forker, ‘Introduction’ in King Richard II (London: Methuen, 2002)

[6] Peter Burke, ‘Nationalisms and Vernaculars: 1500-1800’ in, John Bruielly (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of The History of Nationalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp.21-36, p.24.

[7] Burke, p.25

[8] Herbert Grabes, ‘Introduction: Writing the Nation in a Literal Sense’ in, Herbert Grabes (ed.) Writing the Early Modern English Nation: The Transformation of National Identity in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century England (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2001), pp.ix-xv, p.xiii

[9] Wade Baskin (trans.) Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics (London: Mcgraw, 1959), p.120

[10] Gayatri Spivak (trans.) Jacques Derrida, ‘Différance’, in Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan (eds.) Literary Theory: An Anthology (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004), pp.278-299, p.290

[11] Alan Sheridan (trans.), Jacques Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis (London: Norton, 1998), p.218

[12] Gayatri Spivak (trans.) Jacques Derrida, ‘Structure, Sign and Play’ in Writing and Difference (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), pp.278-294, p.280. Derrida says, ‘all the names related to fundamentals, to principles, or to the center have always designated the constant of a presence—eidos, arché, telos, energeia, ousia (essence, existence, substance, subject) aletheia, transcendentality, consciousness, or conscience, God, man, and so forth (my emphasis).

[13] Derrida, ‘Structure, Sign and Play’, p.278

[14] Derrida, ‘Structure, Sign and Play’, p.278

[15] Roger Allot, Englands Parnassus: or the choysest flowers of our moderne poets (London: 1600) [found online at Early English Books Online http://goo.gl/GgX3wf accessed 19/04/15]

[16] Grabes, p.xiii

[17] Michael A. Faletra (trans & ed), Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain (London: Broadview, 2008), p.56

[18] Margaret Tudeau-Clayton, ‘The ‘trueborn Englishman’: Richard II, The Merchant of Venice and the Future History of (the) English’, in Willy Maley and Margaret Tudeau-Clayton (eds.) This England, That Shakespeare: New Angles on Englishness and the Bard (London: Ashgate, 2010), pp.67-83, p.85.

[19] Derrida, ‘Structure, Sign and Play’, p.279

[20] Richard Helgerson, ‘The Land Speaks’ in, Forms of Nationhood: The Elizabethan Writing of England (London: University of Chicago Press, 1992), pp.105-146, p.112

[21] Helgerson, p.112

[22] From: Christopher Saxton, Atlas of the Counties of England and Wales (London: 1580) [found at Early English Books Online http://goo.gl/L21sgw accessed 19/04/15]

[23] Helgerson, p.112

[24] Lacan, p.218

[25] Helgerson, p.113

[26] Derrida, ‘Structure, Sign and Play’, p.280

[27] Richard Howard (trans.) Roland Barthes, ‘From Work to text’ in The Rustle of Language (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986), pp.56-64, p.59

[28] OED Online, ‘demi-‘ (prefix)

[29] Lacan, p.218

[30] Tudeau-Clayton, p.85

[31] All line references are to Andrew Gurr (ed.) King Henry V (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009)

[32] Michael Quinn, ‘Introduction’ in Michael Quinn (ed.) Shakespeare: Henry V (London: Macmillan, 1969), pp.1-25, p.13.

[33] Lawrence Olivier, Henry V (1944)

[34] Katherine Newman, ‘Englishing the Other: ‘le tiers exclu’ and Shakespeare’s Henry V ’, Fashioning Femininity and English Renaissance Drama (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), pp.95-108, p.104

[35] Gayatri Spivak  (trans.) Jacques Derrida, ‘That Dangerous Supplement’, in Of Grammatology, (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1997), pp.186-200, p.187.

[36] Lacan, p.218                      Schwyzer, p.126

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