Shakespeare, Authority, Sexuality: Unfinished Business in Cultural Materialism

1st Edition

Alan Sinfield

Published June 30, 2006
Reference - 238 Pages
ISBN 9780415402361 - CAT# RU02360
Series: Accents on Shakespeare

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Shakespeare, Authority, Sexuality is a powerful reassessment of cultural materialism as a way of understanding textuality, history and culture, by one of the founding figures of this critical movement. Alan Sinfield examines cultural materialism both as a body of ongoing argument and as it informs particular works by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, especially in relation to sexuality in early-modern England and queer theory.

The book has several interlocking preoccupations:

  • theories of textuality and reading
  • the political location of Shakespearean plays and the organisation of literary culture today
  • the operation of state power in the early-modern period and the scope for dissidence
  • the sex/gender system in that period and the application of queer theory in history.

These preoccupations are explored in and around a range of works by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Throughout the book Sinfield re-presents cultural materialism, framing it not as a set of propositions, as has often been done, but as a cluster of unresolved problems. His brilliant, lucid and committed readings demonstrate that the ‘unfinished business’ of cultural materialism - and Sinfield’s work in particular - will long continue to produce new questions and challenges for the fields of Shakespeare and Renaissance Studies.


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