Shakespeare after Theory

Shakespeare after Theory

Shakespeare after Theory

Shakespeare after Theory


The most familiar assertion of Shakespeare scholarship is that he is our contemporary. Shakespeare After Theory provocatively argues that he is not, but what value he has for us must at least begin with a recognition of his distance from us.


We commend a study of the text of Richard III to those, if such there be, who imagine that it is possible by an exercise of critical skill to restore with certainty what Shakespeare actually wrote.

—W.G. Clark and W.A. Wright,

The Cambridge Shakespeare, 1864

I’ve always heard it can’t be done, but sometimes it doesn’t always work.

—Casey Stengel, 1964

Everyone seems to be doing it these days, or thinking about doing it, or most often—it is the nineties, after all—thinking about why he or she is not doing it. Editing, that is. Editing has suddenly become hot, or, if not exactly hot as an activity to undertake (it does, after all, involve a lot of very tedious, numbingly cold work), at least a hot topic (arguably the hot topic in Shakespeare studies) to debate. Never has the materiality of the texts we study seemed so compelling, so unavoidable, and so exhilaratingly problematic.

In no small part because the emergent electronic technology now

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