Cultural materialism is one of the most important and one of the most provocative theories to have emerged in the last thirty years. Combining close attention to Shakespearean texts and the conditions of their production with an explicit left-wing political affiliation, cultural materialism offers readers a radical avenue through which to engage with Shakespeare and his world. Shakespeare and Cultural Materialist Theory charts the inception and development of this theory, setting out its central tenets and analysing the work of key thinkers such as Alan Sinfield, Jonathan Dollimore, Terence Hawkes and Catherine Belsey. Unlike most literary theories, cultural materialism attempts to use the study of Shakespeare to intervene in the politics of the present day, and its unsettling approach has not passed without objection, both within academia and without. This book considers the debates, scandals and controversies caused by cultural materialism, and by applying it to Shakespeare afresh, demonstrates that the theory is still very much alive and kicking.
Combining the latest scientific and philosophical understanding of humankind's place in the world with interpretative methods derived from other politically inflected literary criticism, ecocriticism is providing new insights into literary works both ancient and modern. With case-study analyses of the tragedies, comedies, histories and late romances, this book is a wide-ranging introduction to reading Shakespeare in the light of contemporary ecocritical theory.
Ecofeminism has been an important field of theory in philosophy and environmental studies for decades. It takes as its primary concern the way the relationship between the human and nonhuman is both material and cultural, but it also investigates how this relationship is inherently entangled with questions of gender equity and social justice.
Shakespeare and Ecofeminist Theory engagingly establishes a history of ecofeminist scholarship relevant to early modern studies, and provides a clear overview of this rich field of philosophical enquiry. Through fresh, detailed readings of Shakespeare's poetry and drama, this volume is a wholly original study articulating the ways in which we can better understand the world of Shakespeare's plays, and the relationships between men, women, animals, and plants that we see in them.
Over the last 20 years, the concept of 'economic' activity has come to seem inseparable from psychological, semiotic and ideological experiences. In fact, the notion of the 'economy' as a discrete area of life seems increasingly implausible. This returns us to the situation of Shakespeare's England, where the financial had yet to be differentiated from other forms of representation. This book shows how concepts and concerns that were until recently considered purely economic affected the entire range of sixteenth and seventeenth century life.
Using the work of such critics as Jean-Christophe Agnew, Douglas Bruster, Hugh Grady and many others, Shakespeare and Economic Theory traces economic literary criticism to its cultural and historical roots, and discusses its main practitioners. Providing new readings of Timon of Athens, King Lear, The Winter's Tale, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Julius Caesar, Macbeth and The Tempest, David Hawkes shows how it can reveal previously unappreciated qualities of Shakespeare's work.
Over the past three decades, no critical movement has been more prominent in Shakespeare Studies than new historicism. And yet, it remains notoriously difficult to pin down, define and explain, let alone analyze. Shakespeare and New Historicist Theory provides a comprehensive scholarly analysis of new historicism as a development in Shakespeare studies while asking fundamental questions about its status as literary theory and its continued usefulness as a method of approaching Shakespeare's plays.
‘Neema Parvini's concise and polemical retelling of this once powerful mode of critical reading is a useful reminder of what was gained by New Historicism, what its limitations were, and what kind of legacy it has left ... Parvini writes directly, passionately, and engagingly ... Useful to anyone, students and scholars, in need of a quick reference guide to the gist of critique of New Historicism.’ – Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme
Shakespeare and Posthumanist Theory charts challenges in the field of Shakespeare studies to the assumption that the category “human” is real, stable, or worthy of privileging in discussions of the playwright's work. Drawing on a variety of methodologies - cognitive theory, systems theory, animal studies, ecostudies, the new materialisms - the volume investigates the world of Shakespeare's plays and poems in order to represent more thoroughly its variety, its ethics of inclusion, and its resistance to human triumphalism and exceptionalism.
Karen Raber, a leading scholar in the field, clearly and cogently guides the reader through complex theoretical terrain, providing fresh, exciting readings of plays including Othello, The Tempest, Titus Andronicus, Troilus and Cressida and Henry IV Part 1.
This book surveys the psychoanalytic theorists who have had the most impact on studies of Shakespeare, clearly explaining the fundamental developments and concepts of their theories, providing concise definitions of key terminology, describing the inception and evolution of different schools of psychoanalysis, and discussing the relationship of psychoanalytic theory (especially in Shakespeare) to other critical theories. It chronologically surveys the major critics who have applied psychoanalysis to their readings of Shakespeare, clarifying the theories they are enlisting; charting the inception, evolution, and interaction of their approaches; and highlighting new meanings that have resulted from such readings. It assesses the applicability of psychoanalytic theory to Shakespeare studies and the significance and value of the resulting readings.
This series provides a comprehensive analysis of the theoretical developments that have dominated Shakespeare studies in recent years, as well as those that are emerging at the present moment. Each volume provides a clear definition of a particular theory; explains its key concepts; surveys its major theorists and critics; situates it in the context of contemporary political, social, and economic developments; analyses its significance in Shakespeare studies; and offers a wealth of suggested resources for further investigation.