Misrepresentations: Shakespeare and the Materialists | National Humanities Center

Work of the Fellows: Monographs

Misrepresentations: Shakespeare and the Materialists

By Graham Bradshaw (NHC Fellow, 1989–90)

British Literature; Cultural History; Satire; Materialism; English Literature; William Shakespeare

Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993

From the publisher’s description:

Just at the moment when conflicts between critical "isms" are threatening to turn the study of English literature into a game park for endangered texts, Graham Bradshaw arrives with a work of liberating wit and insight. His subject is double: the Shakespeare he reads and the Shakespeare that critics in the ranks of the new historicists and cultural materialists are representing (or misrepresenting).
In writing on Henry V, Othello, The Tempest, and The Merchant of Venice, Bradshaw probes the complex dramatic thinking behind the plays. He is much concerned with Shakespeare's "dramatic rhyming," the manner in which different parts of the plays are brought to bear on one another within a complex design. Branching out from these readings, he shows how frequently politicized materialist readings expose and contradict one another in their partial and opportunistic samplings of Shakespeare's texts. Bradshaw argues that the plays can help us to historicize our present, if we allow them to test - instead of using them to "instantiate" - our cherished theories.
Far more than elegant nay-saying, Misrepresentations moves toward a rich new conceptualization of cultural poetics, one responsive to our present critical situation and to the intricate designs of Shakespeare's poetic drama.

Theater / British Literature / Cultural History / Satire / Materialism / English Literature / William Shakespeare /

Bradshaw, Graham (NHC Fellow, 1989–90). Misrepresentations: Shakespeare and the Materialists. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993.