Shakespeare and Literary Theory

Paperback | August 15, 2010

byJonathan Gil Harris

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General Editors: Peter Holland and Stanley Wells Oxford Shakespeare Topics provide students and teachers with short books on important aspects of Shakespeare criticism and scholarship. Each book is written by an authority in its field, and combines accessible style with original discussion of its subject.How is it that the British literary critic Terry Eagleton can say that 'it is difficult to read Shakespeare without feeling that he was almost certainly familiar with the writings of Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Wittgenstein and Derrida', or that the Slovenian psychoanalytic theorist Slavoj Zizekcan observe that 'Shakespeare without doubt had read Lacan'? Shakespeare and Literary Theory argues that literary theory is less an external set of ideas anachronistically imposed on Shakespeare's texts than a mode - or several modes - of critical reflection inspired by, and emerging from, hiswriting. These modes together constitute what we might call 'Shakespearian theory': theory that is not just about Shakespeare but also derives its energy from Shakespeare. To name just a few examples: Karl Marx was an avid reader of Shakespeare and used Timon of Athens to illustrate aspects of hiseconomic theory; psychoanalytic theorists from Sigmund Freud to Jacques Lacan have explained some of their most axiomatic positions with reference to Hamlet; Michel Foucault's early theoretical writing on dreams and madness returns repeatedly to Macbeth; Jacques Derrida's deconstructive philosophyis articulated in dialogue with Shakespeare's plays, including Romeo and Juliet; French feminism's best-known essay is Helene Cixous's meditation on Antony and Cleopatra; certain strands of queer theory derive their impetus from Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's reading of the Sonnets; Gilles Deleuze alightson Richard III as an exemplary instance of his theory of the war machine; and postcolonial theory owes a large debt to Aime Cesaire's revision of The Tempest. By reading what theoretical movements from formalism and structuralism to cultural materialism and actor-network theory have had to sayabout and in concert with Shakespeare, we can begin to get a sense of how much the DNA of contemporary literary theory contains a startling abundance of chromosomes - concepts, preoccupations, ways of using language - that are of Shakespearian provenance.

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General Editors: Peter Holland and Stanley Wells Oxford Shakespeare Topics provide students and teachers with short books on important aspects of Shakespeare criticism and scholarship. Each book is written by an authority in its field, and combines accessible style with original discussion of its subject.How is it that the British lite...

Jonathan Gil Harris is Professor of English at George Washington University. He is the author of Foreign Bodies and the Body Politic: Discourses of Social Pathology in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 1998), Sick Economies: Drama, Mercantilism and Disease in Shakespeare's England (U Penn P, 2004), and Untimely Matter in the Time of S...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:232 pages, 7.99 × 5.31 × 0.07 inPublished:August 15, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199573387

ISBN - 13:9780199573387

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsIntroduction: Shakespeare and TheoryI. Language and Structure1. Formalism: William Empson, Cleanth Brooks, Mikhail Bakhtin2. Structuralism: Roland Barthes, Roman Jakobson, Rene Girard3. Deconstruction:J. Hillis Miller, Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida4. Rhizome and Actor Network Theory: Gilles Deleuze, Michel Serres, Bruno LatourII. Desire and Identity5. Freudian Psychoanalysis: Sigmund Freud, Ernest Jones, Melanie Klein6. Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva, Slavoj Zizek7. Feminism: Virginia Woolf, Helene Cixous, Elaine Showalter8. Queer Theory: Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Jonathan Dollimore, Lee EdelmanIII. Culture and Society9. Marxism: Karl Marx, Georg Lukacs, Bertolt Brecht10. Poststructuralist Marxisms: Terry Eagleton, Jacques Derrida, Fredric Jameson11. New Historicism and Cultural Materialism: Michel Foucault, Stephen Greenblatt, Alan Sinfield12. Postcolonial Theory: Wole Soyinka, Edward Said, Sara AhmedFurther ReadingWorks Cited