Alternative Shakespeares | Vol. 1

Ed. John Drakakis
Building firmly upon the debate initiated in earlier New Accents volumes, the essays in this collection engage directly with the most consistently "mythologized" figure in the established canon of English literature, Shakespeare, and with the dominant forms of liberal humanist criticism through which the myth has been mediated and sustained. Traditional modes of Shakespeare criticism have consistently privileged structural harmony, aesthetic coherence, the study of individual "characters," and the "poetry" of the plays. Drawing on new work in the semiotics of drama, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, feminism and marxism, these essays radically challenge many of the conceptual assumptions upon which such forms of criticism rest. They argue variously for a necessary reading of the semiotic codes inscribed in the texts; for analyses of the ways in which such texts produce meanings; for consideration of the ways in which they construct human subjectivity; and for close scrutiny of the manner in which historically specific contradictions are negotiated through the articulation of specific aesthetic preferences. Their shared conviction is that there is no unified subject "Shakespeare," but a series of alternative "Shakespeares" each of which is defined oppositionally, and each of which it must be the business of criticism to contest in the face of opposed perspectives. Contents: 1. John Drakakis, Introduction. 2. Terence Hawkes, "Swisser-Swatter: making a man of English letters." 3. Christopher Norris, "Post-structuralist Shakespeare: text and ideology." 4. Malcolm Evans, "Deconstructing Shakespeare's comedies." 5. Jacqueline Rose, "Sexuality in the reading of Shakespeare: Hamlet and Measure for Measure." 6. Alessandro Serpieri, "Reading the signs: towards a semiotics of Shakespearean drama" (translated by Keir Elam). 7. James H. Kavanagh, "Shakespeare in ideology." 8. Catherine Belsey, "Disrupting sexual difference: meaning and gender in the comedies." 9. Francis Barker and Peter Hulme, "Nymphs and reapers heavily vanish: the discursive con-texts of The Tempest." 10. Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield, "History and ideology: the instance of Henry V."

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