Mentor: Jonathan Lamb

Political, Material and Ideal Shakespeare - David Scott Kastan convincingly associates William Shakespeare’s representation of royalty in the public theatre with the execution of King Charles I in 1649. Professor Kastan fleshes out his argument with the lines of Shakespeare’s plays, but completely ignores both print culture and Shakespeare’s popularity in print through the middle of the 17th century. Adam Hooks shows how Richard Field, a historical personage linked to Shakespeare, becomes conflated to fit Shakespeare’s biographical narrative. Professor Hooks and other scholars argue for the necessity of “multiple interpretive possibilities” in considering Shakespeare in relation to the historical circumstances of his life. Looking at Shakespeare’s histories with a lens of “multiple interpretive possibilities”, I relocate political Shakespeare within the material conditions of print and of the early modern theatre. I subsequently arrive at this question—is ideal Shakespeare material?

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