The twenty-first century has witnessed the rise to power of images in every aspect of human endeavour. Speculative financial derivatives have achieved a predominant place in the economy, spin and perception rule the political sphere, and technological media ensure that we spend our lives surrounded by images of all kinds. Reading the works of Shakespeare reveals the roots of this process in the early modern period, when the iconoclasm of the Reformation, popular protests against usury, and the campaign against ritual magic combined to provide an ethically based popular resistance to the power of signs.
David Hawkes is professor of English Literature at Arizona State University. He is the author of six monographs, most recently Shakespeare and Economic Theory (Bloomsbury 2015) and the editor of three volumes, and he has published over one hundred articles and reviews on a wide variety of subjects. His most recent work concerns the connections between theology and economics.