How Shakespeare Became Colonial: Editorial Tradition and the British Empire, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

How Shakespeare Became Colonial

Editorial Tradition and the British Empire, 1st Edition

By Leah S. Marcus


168 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2017-03-20
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In this fascinating book, Leah S. Marcus argues that the colonial context in which Shakespeare was edited and disseminated during the heyday of the British Empire has left a mark on Shakespeare’s texts to the present day. How Shakespeare Became Colonial offers a unique and engaging argument, including:

  • A brief history of the colonial importance of editing Shakespeare;
  • The colonially inflected racism that hides behind the editing of Othello;
  • The editing of female characters – colonization as sexual conquest;
  • The significance of editions that were specifically created for schools in India during British colonial rule.

Marcus traces important ways in which the colonial enterprise of setting forth the best possible Shakespeare for world consumption has continued to be visible in the recent treatment of his playtexts today, despite our belief that we are global or postcolonial in approach.


"Marcus trains her prodigious skill for critical illumination on the editorial practices that made Shakespeare suitable for use as a civilizing handbook."

- Professor Ellen MacKay, Recent Studies in Tudor and Stuart Drama

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Construction of a Colonial Shakespeare

Chapter 2: Race and Gender in the Two Texts of Othello

Chapter 3: The Shrew in Colonial Contexts

Chapter 4: Anti-Conquest and As You Like It

Chapter 5: Shylock and Empire

Chapter 6: Editing Shakespeare for the Raj

About the Author

Leah S. Marcus is Edwin Mims Professor of English at Vanderbilt University, USA. She has published widely – both editions of literary texts and critical books and articles.

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Author Interview

We caught up with Leah Marcus to discuss her book. Read on for our exclusive interview.