Paradigms Found: Feminist, Gay, and New Historicist Readings of Shakespeare
Paradigms Found is an indispensable book for students and teachers of Shakespeare, and for anyone interested in the diverse ways in which his plays are read and taught at the start of the twenty-first century. It traces the paradigm shift in Shakespeare studies which, beginning in the 1970s, has foregrounded the playwright's embeddedness in the material practices and ideological constructs of his time, and focussed on the conflicts, gaps and faultlines in early modern society. The book concentrates on feminism and new historicism as the two critical schools that have brought about significant changes in Shakespeare studies, and devotes a chapter to issues in early modern culture and drama highlighted by gay scholars. Topics covered include: contrasting views on the position of Renaissance women, material feminist criticism, Renaissance attacks and defences of women, the maternal body, boy actors, myths of homosexual desire, theatrical transvestism, the role of anecdotes in new historicist practice, self-fashioning, subversion, anxiety and wonder. In tracking the shifting interests of feminist, gay and new historicist critics, Paradigms Found demonstrates the explanatory power of the new approaches, discusses their limitations and places them in the context of developments in society and the academy.
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