© 2003

Shakespeare and the Question of Culture

Early Modern Literature and the Cultural Turn

  • Authors

Part of the Early Modern Cultural Series book series

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. Shakespeare and Culture

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Douglas Bruster
      Pages 3-28
    3. Douglas Bruster
      Pages 29-62
  3. Early Modern Literary Culture

  4. Critical Culture

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 145-145
    2. Douglas Bruster
      Pages 147-166
    3. Douglas Bruster
      Pages 167-190
    4. Douglas Bruster
      Pages 191-205
    5. Douglas Bruster
      Pages 207-210
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 211-279

About this book


The last two decades have witnessed a profound change in the way we receive the literary texts of early modern England. One could call this a move from 'text' to 'culture'. Put briefly, earlier critics tended to focus on literary texts, strictly conceived: plays, poems, prose fictions, essays. Since the mid-1980s, however, it has been just as likely for critics to speak of the 'culture' of early modern England, even when they do so in conjunction with analysis of literary texts. This 'cultural turn' has clearly enriched the way in which we read the texts of early modern England, but the interdisciplinary practices involved have frequently led critics to make claims about materials - and about the 'culture' these materials appear to embody - that exceed those materials' representativeness. Shakespeare and the Question of Culture addresses the central issue of 'culture' in early modern studies through both literary history and disciplinary critique. Douglas Bruster argues that the 'culture' literary critiques investigate through the works of Shakespeare and other writers is largely a literary culture, and he examines what this necessary limitation of the scope of 'cultural studies' means for the discipline of early modern studies.


critique Cultural Studies Cultural Turn culture drama England English literature fiction poem prose William Shakespeare

About the authors

DOUGLAS BRUSTER teaches at The University of Texas at Austin. He is author of Drama and the Market in the Age of Shakespeare, Quoting Shakespeare, and textual editor of The Changeling for The Collected Works of Thomas Middleton.

Bibliographic information


'...a strikingly intelligent, comprehensive and occasionally contentious analysis of the current state of play in early modern literary studies, its history, and the paths open to critics in the future.' - Times Literary Supplement