Questioning Shakespeare

in Critical Survey
William Leahy Brunel University London

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To some extent, the title of this edition of Critical Survey, ‘Questioning Shakespeare’, could be regarded as a little misleading in the sense that the objective of the edition is not to question events in the plays and poems themselves, but rather to question and challenge the conventional Shakespearean critical tradition. It would therefore, perhaps, be more accurate to entitle it ‘Questioning “Shakespeare”’; the quotation marks signaling that it is the ‘institution’ of Shakespeare, with all the historical and cultural resonances such a term suggests, rather than the individual man which is the primary focus throughout. It is the ideological trajectory of this institution which is the essential issue being put in question, though this of necessity requires a close and detailed analysis of some of the plays and poems.

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