Shakespeare and the Economic Imperative

“What’s aught but as ‘tis valued?”

By Peter F. Grav

© 2008 – Routledge

208 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415542173
pub: 2012-02-23
US Dollars$54.95
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Hardback: 9780415963169
pub: 2008-03-26
US Dollars$150.00
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About the Book

Despite the volume of work Shakespeare produced, surprisingly few of his plays directly concern money and the economic mindset. Shakespeare and the Economic Imperative examines the five plays that do address monetary issues (The Comedy of Errors, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure and Timon of Athens), plays in which Shakespeare’s view of how economic determinants shape interpersonal relationships progressively darkens. In short, what thematically starts out in farce ends in nihilistic tragedy. Working within the critical stream of new economic criticism, this book uses formal analysis to interrogate how words are used — how words and metaphoric patterns from the quantifiable dealings of commerce transform into signifiers of qualitative values and how the endemic employment of discursive tropes based on mercantile principles debases human relationships. This examination is complemented by historical socio-economic contextualization, as it seems evident that the societies depicted in these plays reflect the changing world in which Shakespeare lived and wrote.

About the Author

Dr. Peter F. Grav currently lectures at the School of Graduate Studies and the Department of English at the University of Toronto. He received his undergraduate degrees in Education and English Literature at the University of Ottawa and his Master’s and PhD in English Literature at the University of Toronto.

About the Series

Studies in Major Literary Authors

Studies in Major Literary Authors features outstanding scholarship on celebrated and neglected authors of both canonical and lesser-known texts.

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Subject Categories

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