Aaron’s Roots: Spaniards, Englishmen, and Blackamoors in Titus Andronicus

Noémie Ndiaye


Focusing on the play’s genealogy and various allusions to the black legend, this article recovers the long-neglected Spanish dimension of Gothic identity in Titus Andronicus and reconsiders the racial discourse of the play in the light of this information. Within an analogical setup associating Goths with Spaniards and Romans with Englishmen, the play attempts intellectual emancipation: it attempts to think through the topical question of the black African presence in 1590s England on English terms — outside of the Iberian conceptual frameworks with which black Africans had long been associated.


Race; stage; transnational; Shakespeare; Spain; Titus Andronicus

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12745/et.19.2.2847

Noémie Ndiaye
Columbia University
United States

Noémie Ndiaye (nn2274@columbia.edu) is a doctoral candidate in theatre in the department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where she is a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellow. Her dissertation, 'Marking Blackness: Embodied Techniques of Racialization in Seventeenth-Century European Theatre', dissects the various techniques of cross-racial performance used to represent and racialize Africans in early modern England, France, and Spain. She has a forthcoming article in Renaissance Drama called 'Everyone Breeds in his Own Image: Staging the Aethiopica across the Channel'.