Authority and the Early Modern Theatre: Representing Robert Weimann

  • John Drakakis


Robert Weimann’s monumental Shakespeare and The Popular Tradition in the Theatre first appeared in German in 1967, but since its translation into English in 1978, it has been enthusiastically rediscovered in the 1980s in Britain and the United States as a seminal work of materialist criticism.1 This is all the more remarkable at a time when from the point of view of a practical politics as well as theoretical orientation, classical Marxism with its emphasis upon the role of collectivities such as class in the making of history, is thought by some to have entered a period of terminal decline. It is also a matter of no little inconvenience to Weimann himself, who has been forced to divide his time between the recently ‘unified’ Germany and the west coast of the United States, where, paradoxically, the intellectual cachet of Marxism as a developing discourse continues to command serious and sustained, although, as Jacques Derrida indicated, somewhat nervous attention.2 There has, of course, been a significant burgeoning of historical research into Renaissance culture among literary scholars during the last two decades, despite tendentious proclamations of ‘the end of history’,3 all of which have forced a radical reconsideration of some of the fundamental tenets of classical Marxism. This context has proved to be more important than ever for Weimann, who, in his own writing, has continued to engage in a rigorous self-reflexivity in the face of an increasingly feverish circulation and exchange of professional intellectual capital: refusing to be swayed by fashion, but still remaining receptive to the questions which new advances in critical theory have opened up.


Literary History Public Theatre Cultural Authority World Picture Terminal Decline 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Works cited

  1. Agnew, Jean Christophe. Worlds Apart: the Market and the Theater in Anglo-American Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, Perry. In the Tracks of Historical Materialism: The Wellek Library Lectures. London, 1983.Google Scholar
  3. Battaille, Georges. ‘Materialism’, Visions of Excess: Selected Writings 1927–1939. Ed. Alan Stoekl. Manchester, 1985.Google Scholar
  4. de Grazia, Margreta, Maureen Quilligan, and Peter Stallybrass, eds. Subject and Object in Renaissance Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.Google Scholar
  5. Derrida, Jacques. Acts of Literature. Ed. Derek Attridge. New York and London, 1992.Google Scholar
  6. Derrida, Jacques. Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New International. Trans. Peggy Kamuf. New York and London, 1994.Google Scholar
  7. Dollimore, Jonathan. Radical Tragedy: Religion, Ideology and Power in the Drama of Shakespeare and His Contemporaries, 2nd edition. New York and London, 1989.Google Scholar
  8. Foucault, Michel. The Archaeology of Knowledge. Trans. A.M. Sheridan Smith. London, 1972.Google Scholar
  9. Foucault, Michel. History of Sexuality, Vol. 1. Trans. Robert Hurley. Harmondsworth, 1981.Google Scholar
  10. Fukuyama, Francis. The End of’History and the Last Man. London, 1992.Google Scholar
  11. Greenblatt, Stephen. Learning to Curse: Essays in Early Modern Culture. New York and London, 1990.Google Scholar
  12. Habermas, Jürgen. The Theory of Communicative Action: The Critique of Functionalist Reason. Vol. 2. Trans. Thomas McCarthy. Cambridge, 1987.Google Scholar
  13. Heidegger, Martin. ‘The Age of the World Picture’. The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays. Trans. William Lovitt. New York, 1977.Google Scholar
  14. Jameson, Fredric. The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act. London, 1981.Google Scholar
  15. Laclau, Ernesto. Emancipation(s). London and New York, 1996.Google Scholar
  16. Lacoue-Labarthe, Philippe. Typography: Mimesis, Philosophy, Politics. Trans. Christopher Fynsk. Stanford, 1998.Google Scholar
  17. Weimann, Robert. Authority and Representation in Early Modern Discourse. Ed. David Hillman. Baltimore and London, 1996.Google Scholar
  18. Weimann, Robert. Author’s Pen and Actor’s Voice: Playing and Writing in Shakespeare’s Theatre. Ed. Helen Higbee and William West. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Weimann, Robert. ‘Introduction: Representation and Mimesis: Towards a New Theory’. Symbolism: An International Annual of Critical Aesthetics 6 (2004): 1–33.Google Scholar
  20. Weimann, Robert. ‘Mimesis in Hamlet. In Shakespeare and the Question of Theory. Ed. Patricia Parker and Geoffrey Hartman. New York and London, 1985.Google Scholar
  21. Weimann, Robert. ‘“Moralize Two Meanings” in One Play: Divided Authority on the Medieval Stage’. Medievalia 18 (1995): 427–50.Google Scholar
  22. Weimann, Robert. Shakespeare and the Popular Tradition in the Theater: Studies in the Social Dimension of Dramatic Torm and Function. Ed. Robert Schwartz. Baltimore and London, 1978.Google Scholar
  23. Weimann, Robert. ‘Shakespeare (De)Canonized: Conflicting Uses of “Authority” and “Representation.” ‘New Literary History 20 (1988–89): 65–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Weimann, Robert. ‘Society and the Individual in Shakespeare’s Conception of Character’, Shakespeare Survey 34 (1981): 23–31.Google Scholar
  25. Weimann, Robert. ‘The Soul of the Age: Towards a Historical Approach to Shakespeare’. Shakespeare in a Changing World. Ed. Arnold Kettle. London, 1964.Google Scholar
  26. Weimann, Robert. Structure and Society in Literary History: Studies in the History and Theory of Historical Criticism. London, 1976.Google Scholar
  27. Weimann, Robert. Structure and Society in Literary History, Expanded edition. Baltimore and London, 1984.Google Scholar
  28. Weimann, Robert. ‘Textual Authority and Performative Agency: The Uses of Disguise in Shakespeare’s Theatre’. New Literary History 25 (1994): 789–808.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Weimann, Robert. ‘Thresholds to Memory and Commodity in Shakespeare’s Endings’, Representations 53 (1996): 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Weimann, Robert. ‘Towards a Literary Theory of Ideology: Mimesis, Representation, Authority’. In Shakespeare Reproduced: The Text in History and Ideology. Eds Jean E. Howard and Marion F. O’Connor. New York and London, 1987.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Drakakis

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations