Games and War in Early Modern English Literature
Games and War in Early Modern English Literature
From Shakespeare to Swift
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The Interplay of Games and War in Early Modern English Literature: An Introduction
Jim Daems and Holly Faith Nelson

'Can this cock-pit hold the vasty fields of France?' Cockfighting and the Representation of War in Shakespeare's Henry V
Louise Fang

Game Over: Play and War in Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida
Sean Lawrence

Thomas Morton's Maypole: Revels, War Games, and Trans-Atlantic Conflict
Jim Daems

Milton's Epic Games: War and Recreation in Paradise Lost
David Currell

Ciphers and Gaming for Pleasure and War
Katherine Ellison

Virtual Reality, Roleplay, and World Building in Margaret Cavendish's Literary War Games
Holly Faith Nelson and Sharon Alker

Dice, Jesting, and the 'Pleasing Delusion' of War-Like Love in Aphra Behn's The Luckey Chance
Karol Cooper

War and Games in Swift's The Battle of the Books and Gulliver's Travels.
Lori A. Davis Perry

Time-Servers, Turncoats, and the Hostile Reprint: Considering the Conflict of a Paper War
Jeffrey Galbraith

Notes on Contributors


Holly Faith Nelson, James William Daems (eds)

Games and War in Early Modern English Literature

From Shakespeare to Swift

This pioneering collection of nine original essays carves out a new conceptual path in the field by theorizing the ways in which the language of games and warfare inform and illuminate each other in the early modern cultural imagination. They consider how warfare and games are mapped onto each other in aesthetically and ideologically significant ways in the plays, poetry, or prose of William Shakespeare, Thomas Morton, John Milton, Margaret Cavendish, Aphra Behn, and Jonathan Swift, among others. Contributors interpret the terms ‘war games’ or ‘games of war’ broadly, freeing them to uncover the more complex and abstract interplay of war and games in the early modern mind, taking readers from the cockpits and clowns of Shakespearean drama, through the intriguing manuals of cryptographers and the ingenious literary war games of Restoration women authors, to the witty but rancorous paper wars of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.
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Holly Faith Nelson

Holly Faith Nelson, Ph.D., is Professor of English and Co-Director of the Gender Studies Institute at Trinity Western University. Her work on women’s writing, gender and literature, and religion and literature (on writers, texts, and concepts from the medieval to the modern age) has appeared in a wide range of journals and essay collections over the past two decades. She is the co-editor, for example, of French Women Authors: The Significance of the Spiritual (1400-2000) (University of Delaware Press, 2012) and the author or co-author of six articles on the works of Margaret Cavendish. Her co-authored monograph Besieged: Early Modern British Siege Literature, 1642-1722 was recently published by McGill-Queen’s University Press (2021).

James William Daems

Jim Daems is an Assistant Professor and Chair of the English Department at the University College of the North. He has published articles and books on a range of early modern and long-eighteenth century topics and authors.