Subsequent research into the economic difficulties experienced by late sixteenth-century England might have encouraged scholars such as Melissa Aaron to reconsider John Maynard Keynes’ famous remark and to observe that ‘England produced Shakespeare when she could least afford him’, but Keynes’ comment usefully highlights the fact that Shakespeare’s work was financed and made possible by money and the emergence of a professionalised theatrical market in late sixteenth-century London.2 It also reminds us that Shakespeare’s ‘value’ and impact in the UK and beyond has been economic as well as cultural. Early twentieth-century scholars were quick to celebrate the cultural importance of Shakespeare, but the world of Shakespeare studies has been slower to acknowledge the economic importance of Shakespeare’s works and name, despite the fact that the scholarly Shakespeare industry has itself been partly based on the ongoing marketability of England’s most famous playwright and his art.
KeywordsCultural Capital Popular Culture Economic Criticism Cultural Icon Literary Reputation
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