My So-Called Shakespeare: Mourning the Canon in the Age of Postpatriarchal Multiculturalism, or the Shakespeare Pedagogue as Loser

  • Richard Burt


Political critics have tended to assume that the popularization of Shakespeare will contribute to a critique of capitalism, American imperialism, and, eventually, a progressive social transformation.1 The present displacement of a literary Shakespeare, the author of canonical plays and poems, by “Shakespeares”, the representations, performances, and author-functions, and the broader displacement of literary by cultural studies has been regarded by cultural critics as a means of renewing interest in the plays and of multiplying audiences for recodings of them. The Shakespearean or cultural critic also tends to assume that he or she can include all reproductions in the database of Shakespeare studies and that he or she can adopt both low and high positions inside and outside of academia, can both get all the elite in-jokes and appreciate the general view, can work through the contradictions between these positions to make possible new subjectivities and open up new kinds of oppositional, dissident readings. The hip and the politically radical go together in this account. A corollary assumption is that Shakespeare reproductions, Shakespeare cultural criticism, and youth culture are all mutually interpenetrating subcultures: everyone can see, or with some instruction can be brought to see, Shakespeare in the same subversive way (Sinfield 1995).


Cultural Critic Youth Culture Sesame Street Action Hero Dissident Reading 
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Copyright information

© Richard Burt 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Burt
    • 1
  1. 1.NorthamptonUSA

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