Marx the Shakespearian / Shakespeare the Marxist
journal contributionposted on 07.11.2008, 10:01 by Gabriel Egan
Marxist cultural theory underlies much teaching in university departments of literature and has played a crucial role in the development of recent theoretical approaches to Shakespeare. Feminism, New Historicism, cultural materialism, postcolonial theory, and queer theory draw upon Marx's ideas about cultural production, and have a marked affinity with Renaissance studies. There is, however, little open literary debate of Marx's ideas and in the popular imagination they are no more than irrelevant utopianism. The latest book in Routledge's Accents on Shakespeare series, Marxist Shakespeares, is a collection of essays which should help bring Marx back into discussions of literature and it is edited by Jean Howard (Columbia University and president of the Shakespeare Association of America, 1999-2000), and Scott Cutler Shershow (Miama University, Oxford Ohio). Admitting the subject's limitations, Howard and Shershow want to "to push the boundaries of Marxist thought by ongoing engagement with feminism, cultural studies, and non- Marxist forms of historicism" (p. 3) in order to save it from dismissal as a grand narrative toward which the knowing postmodern should remain, as Jean-François Lyotard put it, incredulous.
- The Arts, English and Drama
- English and Drama