Alternative Shakespeares: Volume 2 With an afterword by John by Terence Hawkes

By Terence Hawkes

Replacement Shakespeares, released in 1985, shook up the realm of Shakespearean stories, demythologising Shakespeare and employing new theories to the learn of his paintings. substitute Shakespeares: quantity 2 investigates Shakespearean feedback over a decade later, introducing new debates and new theorists into the body. either verified students and new names look the following, offering a wide cross-section of up to date Shakespearean reviews, together with psychoanalysis, sexual and gender politics, race and new historicism. substitute Shakespeares: quantity 2 represents the vanguard of up to date Shakespearean stories. This urgently-needed addition to a vintage paintings of literary feedback is one that lecturers and students will welcome.

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His analyses tend to aestheticize the political andideological domain,9 explicating and even celebrating thecohesion of cultural meanings rather than analysing theirfragmentary and contested production, treating texts, eventsand practices as collective expressions of a cultural essence orethos rather than as ideological constructions of the collective orthe essential. Describing man as ‘an animal suspended in websof significance he himself has spun’ (1973:5), Geertz traces thesemantic intricacy of the web with extraordinary skill andverve, 24 ALTERNATIVE SHAKESPEARES 2 but pays scant attention to the social, political orideological intricacies–and inequities–that allow the web tobe spun.

Miller’s ‘theory’ can stand in opposition to ‘history, culture, politics, institutions, class and gender conditions’ only because, as Louis Montrose has suggested, Miller radically polarizes the discursive and the social. ‘The prevailing tendency across cultural studies’, Montrose notes, ‘has been to emphasize their reciprocity and mutual constitution: on the one hand, the social is understood to be discursively constructed; and on the other, language-use is understood to be always and necessarily dialogical, to be socially and materially determined and constrained’ (Montrose 1989:15).

And as the reaction of other new historicists should suggest, neither is the essay a manifesto of new historicism, in the sense that principles, attitudes or arguments associated with it can fairly be abstracted and attributed to the movement in general. Greenblatt himself addresses both points in a more recent essay, where he contrasts his own argument in ‘lnvisible Bullets’ with the version of that argument disseminated by critics of new historicism: I did not propose that all manifestations of resistance in all literature (or even in all plays by Shakespeare) were co-opted —one can readily think of plays where the forces of ideological containment break down.

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