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

How Shakespeare Became Colonial
Editorial Tradition and the British Empire

ISBN 9781138238077
Published March 16, 2017 by Routledge
176 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.

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


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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.


"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