In the first discussion in the monthly “Medieval Roundtable” series, John Wyatt Greenlee will discuss his paper, “A Moveable Feast: Eels and Spatial Construction in 17th-Century England.”
Starting in 1600, maps of the city of London began to include the addition of two Dutch eel ships, floating in the river, near Queenhythe. The ships, called schuyts, are often labeled – a key and curious feature given that the maps on which they appear otherwise only attach labels to villages, neighborhoods, and immobile urban monuments such as St. Paul’s Cathedral. The ships’ presence on the maps mirrored the growing presence of the Dutch eel men in London: over the course of the 17th century the Dutch became a fixture of London’s urban landscape, carving out a permanent economic and political space in the heart of England’s capital. Curiously, the eel men owed that space to changing English conceptions of national space and identity – in fine, the establishment of the Dutch space in London came about in no small part because of English efforts to drain the Fens of East Anglia, and to create more England in the midst of the wastelands’ waters.
The discussion will be held in the English Lounge, 258 Goldwin Smith Hall, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, September 4. All are welcome!