Matthias Bauer, Angelika Zirker (Eds.)
Drama and Cultural Change - Turning Around Shakespeare

This collection of essays is concerned with the various ways in which drama responds and contributes to cultural change. Most of the twelve case studies take into account that, in the English-speaking world, Shakespeare has formed the pivot of the relationship between drama and culture for several centuries. Apart from the fact that his works are concerned with processes of transformation or have been used to make such processes visible, they prevent us from adopting schematic ideas of a clearly definable "culture" undergoing equally definable "changes." Turning around Shakespeare thus means avoiding undue generalizations and simplifications. The subjects discussed range from adaptations of Shakespeare's works, such as Granville's The Jew of Venice, 18th and 19th-century paintings of Caliban, and the 2003 BBC transposition of King Lear into a postcolonial Indian context, all the way to revisions of cultural concepts. These may include notions such as the commonwealth, primogeniture, models of reality, theocentrism and human autonomy, obedience, and changing gender relationships. Other essays reflect on the use of metaphors which can be read as commentaries on changing cultural attitudes, and on the representation of desire in a changing cultural context, as well as the elements of contingency and continuity contributing to the construction of 'Shakespeare.' Accordingly, the volume presents both detailed analyses and broader characterizations that evolve around Shakespeare and make us reconsider the cultural assumptions on which his plays and those of subsequent periods appear to be based. Most of the contributions originate in a symposium occasioned by the retirement of Professor Eckard Auberlen, whose teaching and research at the University of Tübingen has for several decades been inspiring to colleagues and students alike.

ISBN 978-3-86821-194-8, 272 S., kt., € 23,50 (2009)

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