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A Mirror for London: The Geopolitics of A Larum for London at the Globe in 1599


Andrew Gurr has described the neglected play A Larum for London (1599) as ‘blatant propaganda’. The play stages events that had happened twenty-three years previously in Antwerp as a stand-in for what might happen if Spain’s ‘Invisible Armada’ were to succeed in sailing up the Thames to London. The politically charged play offers support for (or an encouragement to intensify) Elizabeth’s pro-Dutch, anti-Spanish foreign policy. By treating London and its residents as a mirror image of Antwerp, the play subtly interrogates contemporary English attitudes and values, both public and private.