Shakespeare's Universal Wolf: Studies in Early Modern Reification

Synopsis

In Troilus and Cressida, Shakespeare's image of "an universal wolf" of appetite, power, and will represented and critiqued the emerging systems of modernity: mercantile capitalism, Machiavellian politics, and value-free rationality. Rereading Troilus, Othello, King Lear, and As You Like It, Grady finds many parallels between Shakespeare's criticism and that of such critics as Marx, Horkheimer, Adorno, and Foucault, among others. In particular, Grady points to Shakespeare's keen interest in the twentieth-century concept of "reification," where social systems spin out of control, operating under their own autonomous logic, beyond the reach of the society which had created them.

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