"'Tis a mad world at Hogsdon": Leisure, Licence and the Exoticism of Suburban Space in Early Jacbean London

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This essay is a study of the 1609 pamphlet Pimlyco, or Runne Red-Cap: ‘Tis a mad world at Hogsdon, which concerns the Pimlyco tavern situated in Hoxton in north-east London. A scholarly edition of the text of the pamphlet, which contains several verse sections and a prose passage, has been published electronically in conjunction with the essay. It is argued that the imagery of Pimlyco is intimately connected with the material conditions and topography of the northeastern suburbs, and as such provides a number of insights into early modern London and its suburbs, particularly with regard to leisure, licence, the theatre and the New World. The last of these points, and the claim advanced in the essay that the representation of Hoxton and its taverns is specifically linked to the English expeditions to Virginia in the 1580s and the first decade of the seventeenth century, connects the pamphlet to The Tempest. Finally, it is argued in the essay that Pimlyco is a minor but significant source text for that play, and that the context of Pimlyco provides an illuminating commentary on Shakespeare’s appropriation of representations of the New World in The Tempest.

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“’Tis a mad world at Hogsdon”:

Leisure, Licence and the Exoticism of Suburban Space in

Early Jacobean London


The essay has now been moved to The Literary London JournalVol.10, Issue 2 (Autumn 2013) at .

A redacted performance of the poem, starring Jack Klaff, and directed by Matthew Hahn, is available here.