Authority and the Early Modern Theatre: Representing Robert Weimann

  • John Drakakis

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Expense Mane Volatility Decon Decan 

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

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  • John Drakakis

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