This book is an attempt to explore Shakespearean drama from the vantage point of the oppressed, invisible, and silent individuals and collectivities constructed in the plays. It examines the ideological apparatuses which produce and naturalise oppression and the political structures through which that oppression is sustained. Derek Cohen is concerned to demonstrate the many ways in which political and personal life, always interdependent, intersect. contradict, and disrupt one another often in the interests of and to the advantage of the dominant social ideology.
First published in 1986. 'Impressively open to the complexity of cultural discourses, to the ways in which one discursive form may function as a screen for another above all to the political entailment of genre.' Stephen Greenblatt. What is the relation between literary and political power? How do the symbolic dimensions of social practice and the social dimensions of artistic practice relate to one another? Power on Display considers Shakespeare's progression from romantic comedies and history plays to tragedy and romance in the light of the general process of cultural change in the period.
Shakespeare and the Politics of Commoners is a highly original contribution to our understanding of Shakespeare's plays. It breaks important new ground in introducing readers, lay and scholarly alike, to the existence and character of the political culture of the mass of ordinary commoners in Shakespeare's England, as revealed by the recent findings of 'the new social history'. The volume thereby helps to challenge the traditional myths of a non-political commons and a culture of obedience. It also brings together leading Shakespeareans, who digest recent social history, with eminent early modern social historians, who turn their focus on Shakespeare. This genuinely cross-disciplinary approach generates fresh readings of over ten of Shakespeare's plays and locates the impress on Shakespearean drama of popular political thought and pressure in this period of perceived crisis. The volume is unique in engaging and digesting the dramatic importance of the discoveries of the new social history, thereby resituating and revaluing Shakespeare within the social depth of politics.
Political science is becoming ever more reliant on abstract statistical models and almost divorced from human judgment, hope, and idealism. William Shakespeare offers the political scientist an antidote to this methodological alienation, this self-imposed exile from the political concerns of citizens and politicians. Shakespeare, the most quoted author in the English-speaking world, presents his characters as rulers, citizens, and statesmen of the most famous regimes, governed by their respective laws and shaped by their respective political and social institutions. The actions, deliberations, mistakes, and successes of his characters reveal the limitations and strengths of their regimes, whether they be Athens, Rome, or England. The contributors to this volume, esteemed scholars of political science, show us that Shakespeare's poetic imagination displays the very essence of politics and inspires valuable reflection on the fundamental questions of statesmanship and political leadership. Perspectives on Shakespeare's Politics explores such themes as classical republicanism and liberty, the rule of law and morality, the nature and limits of statesmanship, and the character of democracy.
Speaking to readers in a voice that is adventurous rather than authoritative, innovative rather than institutional and speculative rather than orthodox, Linda Charnes’ provocative study of Shakespeare’s legacy in contemporary American and British politics explores the following themes: namesake princes and presidents stolen thrones and elections plutocrats and insurgents campaign trails and war-mongering waning monarchy and imperilled democracy revengers, early modern and postmodern. Linked by focused readings of Hamlet and the Henriad, the essays follow Shakespeare’s two most famous royal sons, the Princes Hamlet and Hal, as they haunt contemporary political psychology in the early years of a new millennium, and especially in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Between devolution in Britain and the new ‘doctrine’ of pre-emptive strike in the United States, our contemporary Hamlets and Hals epitomize a debate – as fraught now as in Shakespeare’ day – about the cost of spin-doctoring legacies. In exploring how current political culture inherits Shakespeare, Hamlet’s Heirs challenges scholarly assumptions about historical periodicity, modernity and the uses of Shakespeare in present day contexts.
The Politics of Tragicomedy: Shakespeare and After offers a series of sophisticated and powerful readings of tragicomedy from Shakespeare’s late plays to the drama of the Interregnum. Rejecting both the customary chronological span bounded by the years 1603-42 (which presumes dramatic activity stopped with the closing of the theatres) and the negative critical attitudes that have dogged the study of tragicomedy, the essays in this collection examine a series of issues central to the possibility of a politics for the genre. Individual essays offer important contributions to continuing debates over the role of the drama in the years preceding the Civil War, the colonial contexts of The Tempest, the political character of Jonson’s late plays, and the agency of women as public and theatre actors. The introduction presents a strong challenge to previous definitions of tragicomedy in the English context, and the collection as a whole is characterized by its rejection of absolutist strategies for reading tragicomedy. This collection will prove essential reading for all with an interest in the politics of Renaissance drama; for specialists in the work of Shakespeare, Fletcher, and Jonson; for those interested in genre and dramatic forms; and for historians of early Stuart England.
This book looks at adaptations, translations and performance of Shakespeare's productions in India from the mid-18th century, when British officers in India staged Shakespeare's plays along with other English playwrights for entertainment, through various Indian adaptations of his plays during the colonial period to post-Independence period. It studies Shakespeare in Bengali and Parsi theatre at length. Other theatre traditions, such as Marathi, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi, have been included. The book dwells on the fascinating story of the languages of India that have absorbed Shakespeare's work and have transformed the original educated Indian's Shakespeare into the popular Shakespeare practice of the 19th and 20th centuries, and the unique urban-folkish tradition in postcolonial India.
Church and state during Shakespeare's lifetime were in significant conflict on issues stemming from Henry VIII's break with Rome, issues centering principally on questions of authority and obedience - religious conformity, the form of church government, the jurisdiction of spiritual and temporal courts, and the source and scope of the monarch's power. To what extent were these disputes present in Shakespeare's work? In her compelling reassessment of Shakespeare's historicity, Donna Hamilton rejects the notion that the official censorship of the day prevented the stage from representing contemporary debates concerning the relations among church, state, and individual. She argues instead that throughout his career Shakespeare positioned his writing politically and ideologically in relation to the ongoing and changing church-state controversies and in ways that have much in common with the shifts on these issues identified with the Leicester-Sidney-Essex-Southampton-Pembroke group. In her readings of King John, Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Cymbeline and Henry VIII, Hamilton finds Shakespeare reappropriating a wide range of idioms from church-state discourse, particularly those of anti-catholicism and nonconformity. And she uses this language to broach some of the broad social and political issues involving obedience, privacy, property, and conscience - matters that were often the focus of church-state disputes and that provided this historical period with its central rhetorics of subjectivity. In this first full-scale study of Shakespeare and church politics, Hamilton also provides an important reassessment of censorship practices, of the means by which dissident views circulated, of the centrality of anti-catholic discourse for all church-state debates, and of the overwhelming significance of church-state issues as an agent for print and stage.
This collection of essays by both theatre scholars and practitioners examines the political and aesthetic consequences of the marriage of Shakespearean text and realist performance style, considering productions ranging from the early twentieth century to 2016.
"Brilliant, beautifully organized, exceedingly readable."—Philip Roth World-renowned Shakespeare scholar Stephen Greenblatt explores the playwright’s insight into bad (and often mad) rulers. Examining the psyche—and psychoses—of the likes of Richard III, Macbeth, Lear, and Coriolanus, Greenblatt illuminates the ways in which William Shakespeare delved into the lust for absolute power and the disasters visited upon the societies over which these characters rule. Tyrant shows that Shakespeare’s work remains vitally relevant today, not least in its probing of the unquenchable, narcissistic appetites of demagogues and the self-destructive willingness of collaborators who indulge them.
Taking the classical view that the political shapes man's consciousness, Allan Bloom considers Shakespeare as a profoundly political Renaissance dramatist. He aims to recover Shakespeare's ideas and beliefs and to make his work once again a recognized source for the serious study of moral and political problems. In essays looking at Julius Caesar, Othello, and The Merchant of Venice, Bloom shows how Shakespeare presents a picture of man that does not assume privileged access for only literary criticism. With this claim, he argues that political philosophy offers a comprehensive framework within which the problems of the Shakespearean heroes can be viewed. In short, he argues that Shakespeare was an eminently political author. Also included is an essay by Harry V. Jaffa on the limits of politics in King Lear. "A very good book indeed . . . one which can be recommended to all who are interested in Shakespeare." —G. P. V. Akrigg "This series of essays reminded me of the scope and depth of Shakespeare's original vision. One is left with the impression that Shakespeare really had figured out the answers to some important questions many of us no longer even know to ask."-Peter A. Thiel, CEO, PayPal, Wall Street Journal Allan Bloom was the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor on the Committee on Social Thought and the co-director of the John M. Olin Center for Inquiry into the Theory and Practice of Democracy at the University of Chicago. Harry V. Jaffa is professor emeritus at Claremont McKenna College and Claremont Graduate School.
This volume gives Asia’s Shakespeares the critical, theoretical, and political space they demand, offering rich, alternative ways of thinking about Asia, Shakespeare, and Asian Shakespeare based on Asian experiences and histories. Challenging and supplementing the dominant critical and theoretical structures that determine Shakespeare studies today, close analysis of Shakespeare’s Asian journeys, critical encounters, cultural geographies, and the political complexions of these negotiations reveal perspectives different to the European. Exploring what Shakespeare has done to Asia along with what Asia has done with Shakespeare, this book demonstrates how Shakespeare helps articulate Asianess, unfolding Asia’s past, reflecting Asia’s present, and projecting Asia’s future. This is achieved by forgoing the myth of the Bard’s universality, bypassing the authenticity test, avoiding merely descriptive or even ethnographic accounts, and using caution when applying Western theoretical frameworks. Many of the productions studied in this volume are brought to critical attention for the first time, offering new methodologies and approaches across disciplines including history, philosophy, sociology, geopolitics, religion, postcolonial studies, psychology, translation theory, film studies, and others. The volume explores a range of examples, from exquisite productions infused with ancient aesthetic traditions to popular teen manga and television drama, from state-dictated appropriations to radical political commentaries in areas including Japan, India, Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia, China, and the Philippines. This book goes beyond a showcasing of Asian adaptations in various languages, styles, and theatre traditions, and beyond introductory essays intended to help an unknowing audience appreciate Asian performances, developing a more inflected interpretative dialogue with other areas of Shakespeare studies.
Shakespeare was an astute observer of contemporary life, culture, and politics. The emerging practice of territory as a political concept and technology did not elude his attention. In Shakespearean Territories, Stuart Elden reveals just how much Shakespeare’s unique historical position and political understanding can teach us about territory. Shakespeare dramatized a world of technological advances in measuring, navigation, cartography, and surveying, and his plays open up important ways of thinking about strategy, economy, the law, and colonialism, providing critical insight into a significant juncture in history. Shakespeare’s plays explore many territorial themes: from the division of the kingdom in King Lear, to the relations among Denmark, Norway, and Poland in Hamlet, to questions of disputed land and the politics of banishment in Richard II. Elden traces how Shakespeare developed a nuanced understanding of the complicated concept and practice of territory and, more broadly, the political-geographical relations between people, power, and place. A meticulously researched study of over a dozen classic plays, Shakespearean Territories will provide new insights for geographers, political theorists, and Shakespearean scholars alike.
William Shakespeare, more than any other author, was able to capture the essence of human nature in all its manifestations. His political plays offer enduring insights into our humanity, our vanity, our noble and baser drives, what makes us great, and what makes us loathsome. He tells us about ourselves and about our world. This volume gleans valuable lessons from the writings of William Shakespeare and applies them to contemporary politics. Original chapters covering over a dozen different plays take up perennial political themes including power and leadership, corruption and virtue, war and peace, evil and liberty, persuasion and polarization, and empire and global overreach.Features of the text:
First published in 1998, this volume explores the period 1585-1649, identifying it as rich in innovative drama which challenged the boundaries between social, political and cultural activities of various kinds. Molly Smith examines ways in which texts by Renaissance authors reflect, question and influence their society’s ideological concerns. In the drama of Kyd, Shakespeare, Beaumont and Fletcher, Webster, Middleton, Massinger and Ford, she identifies the simultaneously serious and playful appropriation of popular cultural practices, an appropriation which is expertly reversed by authorities in the political drama of Charles I’s public trial and execution in 1649. This compelling interpretation of Renaissance drama will prove of value to students of literature and social history.
Building on a theoretical framework offered in the first chapter, this study examines the ideological repercussions of the staging of the Italian scene in prominent works by Shakespeare, Jonson, and Marlowe. By focusing on the self-conscious, overt rehearsal of existing texts and genres, Michael J. Redmond argues that these plays represent the political conflicts of Jacobean England within the context of previous writing about the crises of Cinquecento Italy.