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ENGL 2013 Shakespeare I -- Kelley

Temporal Scope

Temporal Scope of Your Research

MoEML is mainly interested in and focuses on London between 1550 and 1650. However, early modern Londoners were aware of their Roman and medieval history (especially from Holinshed, Stow, Camden and other writers, as well as from contemporary history plays) and, in fact, the earlier history of London is often preserved in its sixteenth- and seventeenth-century placenames.

That said, many MoEML users are also interested in the fate of a street or site after 1650, particularly what happened to the site in the Great Fire of 1666, which destroyed most of the buildings within the city walls. Many of the entries in the Placeography section of our Encyclopedia end by telling the reader what occupies the site now. Your encyclopedia article should therefore focus on the period from 1550 to 1650, with some reference to the periods before and after, as seems appropriate and necessary.


You’ll notice that our project maps early modern London, rather than Shakespeare’s London or Renaissance London. What is the early modern period? In English studies, early modern is an alternate term for the Renaissance (roughly 1485 to 1660), but you should be aware that scholars in other disciplines use the term early modern differently. MoEML is an interdisciplinary project which means that, to conduct thorough research into a street, site, or playhouse, you may need to draw upon the work of not only literary critics but also social and political historians, geographers, archaeologists, and cartographic historians. As you search for and find secondary sources from these various disciplines, keep in mind that literary scholars tend to define the early modern period as 1475 or 1485 to 1660 or 1700 (depending on the scholar). For social historians, the early modern period spans 1500 to 1750, 1789, or 1800 (depending on the scholar). For many historians of England, the early modern period begins in 1485 (with the beginning of the Tudor dynasty).