Presentist Shakespeares

Edited by Hugh Grady, Terence Hawkes

© 2007 – Routledge

224 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415385299
pub: 2006-11-26
US Dollars$41.95
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Hardback: 9780415385282
pub: 2006-12-03
US Dollars$120.00
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e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Presentist Shakespeares is the first extended study of the principles and practice of 'presentism', a critical movement that takes account of the never-ending dialogue between past and present.

In this bold and consistently thought-provoking collection of presentist readings, the contributors:

  • argue that the ironies generated by our involvement in time are a fruitful, necessary and an unavoidable aspect of any text's being, and that presentism allows us to engage with them more fully and productively
  • demonstrate how these ironies can function as agents of change, flowing unstoppably back into the events of the past, colouring how we perceive them and modifying our sense of what they signify
  • show that a critic's inability to step beyond time and specifically the present does not, as has been argued elsewhere, 'contaminate' readings of Shakespeare's plays, but rather points to shades of implication suddenly available here and now within the wide range of plays examined
  • suggest that presentism might not merely challenge or expand our sense of what Shakespeare's plays are able to tell us, but may in fact offer the only effective purchase on these texts that is available to us.

Presentist criticism is an open-ended and on-going project, located at a particularly interesting and demanding juncture in modern Shakespeare studies. At this crucial point, then, Presentist Shakespeares is a compelling collection of readings by a distinguished team of authors, but it is also much more: it is a landmark, which reflects, develops and even rejoices in the intedeterminacy of the field.

Contributors include: Catherine Belsey, Michael Bristol, Linda Charnes, John Drakakis, Ewan Fernie, Evelyn Gajowski, Hugh Grady, Terence Hawkes and Kiernan Ryan.

Table of Contents

General Editor’s Preface. Introduction: Presenting Presentism. Band of Brothers. Historicising New Historicism. ' . . . And I’m the King of France’. Shakespeare, and Belief, in the Future. Present Text: Editing The Merchant of Venice. Action! Henry V. Lavinia as 'Blank Page' and the Presence of Feminist Critical Practices. Hamlet and the Present: Notes on the Moving Aesthetic 'Now'. Troilus and Cressida: The Perils of Presentism. Notes. Bibliography. Index

About the Series

Accents on Shakespeare

The Accents on Shakespeare series provides short, powerful 'cutting edge' accounts of and comments on new developments in Shakespeare studies. The volumes either 'apply' theory, or broaden and adapt it in order to connect with concrete teaching concerns. In the process, they also reflect and engage with the major developments in Shakespearean studies of the last ten years.

Since the New Accents series was established, 'theory' as a fundamental feature of the study of literature, the need for short, 'cutting-edge' accounts of and comments on new developments in literary studies has increased enormously. In the case of Shakespeare, Accents on Shakespeare supplies an exciting range of provocative new titles. The books in the series either apply theory, or broaden and adapt it to connect with teaching concerns. In the process they also reflect and engage with the major developments in Shakespearean studies of recent years.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LIT000000
LITERARY CRITICISM / General
LIT013000
LITERARY CRITICISM / Drama
LIT015000
LITERARY CRITICISM / Shakespeare