Archery -- in particular prowess with the longbow — was inextricably tied to English national identity, especially to success over the French during the Hundred Years War, and the association of the victory at Agincourt with the skill of the English archers was widely known. Yet Shakespeare’s Henry V does not mention their role. Using current anthropological work on ‘enskilment’ and cultural transmission, this essay examines the positions of archery and theater, respectively, within the ecologies of skill in early modern England. To account for the missing archers, I consider the promotion of the longbow in Tudor England, including sanctions and incentives to revive the ‘art of shooting,’ as it was called; the stagecraft of archery in the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries; and the role of theater in ‘prestigious imitation’ and the cultural transfer of bodily practices


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pp. 789-814
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