This issue is devoted to the radical and innovative Shakespeare criticism that emerged in Britain in the 1980s; and to the memory of a hugely influential and much-loved leader in the field, Professor Terence Hawkes, who died in 2014.
In Memory of Terry Hawkes (1932–2014)
Graham Holderness and Richard Wilson
This article offers a reflection on the importance and impact of Jonathan Dollimore's book Radical Tragedy, situating it in the context of the critical and political climate of the 1980s and the author's own engagement with both early modern studies and postcolonial studies. It suggests that the book's engagement with both philosophy and history remains important to both fields today.
Rick Turner and the End of the Durban Moment
social movements at the start of the 1970s straight through to the foment of the 1980s, and the end of apartheid in the 1990s. In this version of history, all of the later developments in the struggle against apartheid took their inspiration from the
Friends and Family Figures in Contemporary Fiction
During the twentieth century, scientific advances, especially in the field of reproductive technologies, have fundamentally altered ideas about parenting, the family and what it means to be human. In the 1980s, the family became a significant site of political conflict in the UK when family values were defended and so-called pretended families were condemned. New information technologies make it possible for online chat between friends who have never met. Changes in legislation have defined and protected the rights of the child and spectacular campaigns have developed for fathers’ rights. Meanwhile tracing your family history has become one of the most popular hobbies.
Sex and the Body in Dickens
William A. Cohen
Not so long ago, the topic of Dickens and sex might have seemed entirely entailed by Foucault's inquires in the first volume of the History of Sexuality. In that work, Foucault argues that sex is not a biological donnée but is instead an effect of discourse, a culturally variable vehicle for the exercise of power in many different directions. Emerging out of Foucault's studies of social institutions such as prisons and madhouses, the History of Sexuality emphasises the disciplinary imperative of sexual knowledges; it argues that individual subjects internalise surveillance mechanisms, experiencing them through and as their sexuality. One of the beneficiaries of the Foucauldian paradigm, which dominated Victorian literary studies from the late 1980s until recently, was queer theory. Queer theory interrogates rather than presuming identity categories (such as homosexual, lesbian and gay), but it has always sat in an uneasy relation to identity politics, simultaneously relying on and deconstructing stable notions of gender and sexual identity. Some critics have employed queer theory to discover lesbian, gay or queer characters and practices in Victorian literature (not to mention finding more properly nineteenth-century types, such as the hysteric, the onanist and the sodomite). Such projects have often understood the function of sexual representation as part of modernity's more general disciplinary structure.
Reading Robert Kroetsch's The Lovely Treachery of Words
Many of the critical essays of the Canadian novelist, poet and theorist Robert Kroetsch, as collected in his 1989 anthology The Lovely Treachery of Words, explore the issue of how Canadian writers attempt to establish a cultural nationalism in the face of the decline of the British Empire. They are an initial expression of ideas about place and language, the problematic discourse of the 'New World', and the reinscription of First Nations peoples into the literature and culture of the Canadian nation. These are concerns which later came to be regarded as 'postcolonial' with the burgeoning of the term in the late 1980s through to the present day. However, his essays are due for reassessment in the light of recent responses to postcolonial subjectivity which critique the 'colonizer-colonized' binary as used in settler-invader contexts. This 'colonizer-colonized' binary has a troubling tendency to efface indigenous peoples. It conceals the imperialistic, land-grabbing aspects of settler-invader history by positing the settler as the true postcolonial subject, searching for a stable national identity – an authentic Canadian sense of citizenship and belonging – in the face of a cultural heritage largely defined by European imperialism.
Knowledge and Power in Amitav Ghosh's The Circle of Reason
In recent times, the position of the Indian writer writing in English has undergone something of a transformation. The celebrations of post-colonial marginality have come to be replaced by allegations of what Graham Huggan has termed ‘strategic exoticism’. Even though the publication of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (1981) is hailed as a turning-point, much contemporary criticism has tired of Rushdie’s chutnified histories and East–West fusions. By the time Arundhati Roy won the Booker in 1997, the 1980s era of welcoming post-colonial ‘difference’ had been replaced by an unease that postcolonial writers, rather than being marginal ‘others,’ had become the shrewd profiteers of a global economy. The rhetoric of globalisation since the mid-1990s has increasingly situated the post-colonial writer as beneficiary (and not always an inadvertent one) of the global market-place rather than as the under-represented, under-taught, noncanonical ‘other’ who must be studied if only under the rubric of Fredric Jameson’s well-intentioned ‘national allegories’.
Sicily and Malta, Jeremy became involved in developing a comparative anthropology of the Mediterranean region of which he was a leading advocate in the 1970s and 1980s but about which he had second thoughts at the time he was working on his collection of
Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Egypt and Sweden, 2003
highly successful production was the company’s first Shakespeare play. Bergman approached The Dream by alerting youthful Swedish audiences of the late 1980s to the emotional complications and societal issues that linked Shakespeare to modern Swedes
Thoughts on the Humanities at Home and Abroad
The place and future of the Humanities is under scrutiny in many parts of the world. The diminution in the university commenced in the 1980s with the rise of free-market thinking associated with Thatcher and Reagan. It was the end of the Cold War, however, with the rise of globalisation that control was tightened in higher education under the guise of increased freedom. The increasing emphasis on utilitarian forms of knowledge needed for economic growth further imperilled the Humanities. In South Africa, upon which the argument draws for illustration, policy-makers paid increasing lip service to academic freedom and institutional autonomy while directing policy interest and resources away from the Humanities.