Reading the River in Shakespeare's Britain

deadline for submissions: 
March 31, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Lisa Hopkins and Bill Angus
contact email: 

Call for book chapters: Reading the River in Shakespeare’s Britain 

Edited collection, publisher TBC.

Editors: Lisa Hopkins and Bill Angus

Contact emails:


  • Deadline for submitting chapter proposals (400 words): 31 March 2022
  • Notification of acceptance: 30 April 2022
  • Deadline for final submissions (6000-8000 words): 31 August 2022


‘Give me mine angle; we'll to the river’ (Antony and Cleopatra)


The editors invite 400-word abstracts for a collection examining perceptions of rivers and waterways and their place in the cultures of early modern Britain.

Following the editors’ previous collaboration, Reading the Road from Shakespeare's Crossways to Bunyan’s Highways (EUP, 2020), this edited collection aims to pull together new research on early modern British/European literary or historical perceptions of rivers and related waterways.

Chapters might focus on subjects related any or none of the following: how rivers contribute to early modern cultural identities, rivers as physical boundaries or as metaphorical transition points, or perceptions of literal and figurative riverborne mobility. They may consider post-Reformation views of baptism or religious pilgrimage, Bunyan’s rivers, famous rivers such as Tiber and Nile, classical rivers such as Lethe or Styx, Marvell’s Humber and Ganges, or Shakespeare and the Avon. They might reflect on riverside or dockside communities, rivers as thoroughfares and access points to the city, the gilded barges of aristocrats or the wherries of the Thames watermen, on river commerce, the necessity of river clearance for the movement of goods, the nature of fords or bridges, early canal projects, or on the creation of new rivers in the draining of the fens. They might look at the representation of death by drowning (half of all fatal accidents in the 16th century) or on rivers as places of execution especially for those executed for sea-crimes at Execution Dock and elsewhere. They might also consider the representation of rivers on maps and early modern cartographical practices.

These suggestions are indicative rather than prescriptive and we welcome your ideas.

Please send proposals of 400 words and a brief biographical statement to Lisa Hopkins ( and Bill Angus ( by 31 March, 2022.