Shakespeare after Theory

By David Scott Kastan | Go to book overview

It is…far from the case that the search for intelligibility comes to an end in history as though this were its terminus. Rather, it is history that serves as the point of departure of any quest for intelligibility.

—Claude Lévi-Strauss


Introduction: Reading Shakespeare Historically

This is a book about reading Shakespeare historically-or, more precisely, a book about a particular way of reading Shakespeare historically. 1 It is a book about the forms in which Shakespeare’s plays circulated, about the imaginative and institutional circumstances in which they were produced, and about what kinds of meanings were generated as the plays were experienced by their audiences and readers. There are other ways of reading Shakespeare historically; other histories may matter to us, not least, of course, our own. Shakespeare’s plays are always situated in and saturated by his-

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