Building a Wall Around Tudor England: Coastal Forts and Fantasies of Border Control in Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay

  • Todd Andrew Borlik University of Huddersfield


This article examines the border wall and the image of fortress England in Robert Greene’s Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay and early 1590s nationalist discourse. While Greene recognizes the need for an international outlook in geopolitics, Bacon’s wall speaks to contemporary interest in coastal fortifications and brass ordnance in the wake of the Spanish Armada. Greene lampoons the wall as magical thinking, but the play clings to metaphorical walls as more cost-effective symbols of national security and autonomy. The play’s awkward combination of pan-European sentiment and strident nationalism offers a prophetic commentary on post-Brexit Britain.

Author Biography

Todd Andrew Borlik, University of Huddersfield

Todd Andrew Borlik ( is a senior lecturer in the department of English, linguistics, and history at the University of Huddersfield.