Afterword: Shakespeare and Myth
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.
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