Cultural materialism is one of the most important and one of the most provocative theories to have emerged in the last thirty years. Combining close attention to Shakespearean texts and the conditions of their production with an explicit left-wing political affiliation, cultural materialism offers readers a radical avenue through which to engage with Shakespeare and his world. Shakespeare and Cultural Materialist Theory charts the inception and development of this theory, setting out its central tenets and analysing the work of key thinkers such as Alan Sinfield, Jonathan Dollimore, Terence Hawkes and Catherine Belsey. Unlike most literary theories, cultural materialism attempts to use the study of Shakespeare to intervene in the politics of the present day, and its unsettling approach has not passed without objection, both within academia and without. This book considers the debates, scandals and controversies caused by cultural materialism, and by applying it to Shakespeare afresh, demonstrates that the theory is still very much alive and kicking.
Christopher Marlow is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Lincoln, UK.
Series Editor's Preface viii Acknowledgements xi Introduction 1 1 Cultural materialism vs `old' historicism and formalism: `A positive (k)not' 9 2 Text vs material: Cultural materialism and new historicism 39 3 State vs individual: Cultural materialism and agency 67 4 Past vs present: Cultural materialism and contemporary politics 99 5 `The nature of an insurrection': Cultural materialism and Julius Caesar 127 Appendix 157 Bibliography 159 Notes 173 Index 205