Afterword: Shakespeare and Myth

  • Michael Dobson
Part of the Reproducing Shakespeare book series (RESH)


In this afterword on the subject of Shakespeare and myth, Dobson first places the Shakespeare canon at the idealized midpoint of the trajectory, influentially described by Erich Auerbach, by which Western literature descended from its classical origins as a vehicle for myth to its characteristic modern allegiance to local low-life realism. In Auerbach’s schema, Shakespeare’s works owe their generative richness to their ability simultaneously to reach back into mythology and forward into realism. Dobson argues, however, that if myth is perpetually falling into history, so history is perpetually being misremembered as myth, and he recapitulates some of the ways in which this volume describes the international and local workings of the Shakespeare myth, particularly in relation to twenty-first-century performance.


  1. Auerbach, Erich. 2003. Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. Trans. Willard Task. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Dobson, Michael. 2013. Ovid Goes to Stratford. London Review of Books, December 5.
  3. ———. 2015. A Boy from Stratford: Shakespearean Biography and Cultural Nationalism, 1616–1916. In On Life-Writing, ed. Zachary Leader, 25–47. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 2017. Four Centuries of Centenaries: Stratford-upon-Avon. Shakespeare Survey 70: 51–58.Google Scholar
  5. Olivier Mythodrama. 2016.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Dobson
    • 1
  1. 1.Shakespeare InstituteUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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