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Shakespeare’s Hand

2002
Author:

Jonathan Goldberg

Shakespeare’s Hand

A provocative exploration of the relationship between gender, history, and Shakespeare’s plays.

Jonathan Goldberg’s wide-ranging essays are among the most sophisticated, influential, and controversial writing about Shakespeare. He challenges the critical orthodoxy, provoking scholars to reassess both their own assumptions and those underpinning the field of Shakespeare studies. Collected in one volume for the first time, these essays offer a sustained, energetic, and rigorous examination of issues of gender and sexuality that pervade Shakespeare’s plays.

Superb . . .a strong testament to the work of the thinker who has furthest explored the relation between theory and the material particularities of a work and its cultural moment.

Christopher Pye, author of The Vanishing: Shakespeare, the Subject, and Early Modern Culture

Over the past fifteen years, Jonathan Goldberg’s wide-ranging essays have been among the most sophisticated, influential, and controversial writing about Shakespeare. He challenges the critical orthodoxy, provoking scholars to reassess both their own assumptions and those underpinning the field of Shakespeare studies. Collected in one volume for the first time, these essays offer a sustained, energetic, and rigorous examination of issues of gender and sexuality that pervade Shakespeare’s plays, as well as a road map of the shifts during the past two decades in our understanding of English literature’s most canonical figure.

Central to these essays are concerns about textuality as considered from a number of vantage points, including deconstructionist, psychoanalytic, and historicist. Goldberg studies most of Shakespeare’s plays, giving particular emphasis to Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, and to Romeo and Juliet; he focuses throughout on the relationship between the text as material object and the reality created or reflected by that text. Among the issues he considers are the textual instability of Shakespeare’s plays and the historical instabilities of gender and sexuality depicted in those plays, the construction of gender and the dehumanization implicit in treating characters as a textual production, the function of letters and other documents within the Shakespearean texts, and the correlation of sexual politics and textual desire.

Tracing a path from characters in the scriptive sense to their embodiment in characters marked by gender and sexuality, Shakespeare's Hand provides a brilliant set of inquiries into the production, critical reception, and conditions of Shakespearean texts.


Shakespeare’s Hand

Jonathan Goldberg is the Sir William Osler Professor of English Literature at The Johns Hopkins University. His previous books include Desiring Women Writing (1997), Sodometries (1992), Writing Matter (1990), and, as editor, Reclaiming Sodom (1994) and Queering the Renaissance (1994).

Shakespeare’s Hand

Superb . . .a strong testament to the work of the thinker who has furthest explored the relation between theory and the material particularities of a work and its cultural moment.

Christopher Pye, author of The Vanishing: Shakespeare, the Subject, and Early Modern Culture

Shakespeare’s Hand

Contents

Introduction

Part I Textual Properties

Shakespearean Characters: The Generation of Silvia
Making Sense
Shakespearean Inscriptions: The Voicing of Power
Calling Out the Law

Part II Hamlet’s Hand

Perspectives: Dover Cliff and the Conditions of Representation
Shakespeare Writing Matter Again: Objects and Their Detachments
Speculations: Macbeth and Source
The Anus in Coriolanus

Part III Rebel Letters: Postal Effects from Richard II to Henry IV

The Commodity of Names: “Falstaff” and “Oldcastle” in 1 Henry IV
Hal’s Desire, Shakespeare’s Idaho
“What? in a names that which we call a Rose”: The Desired Texts of Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet’s Open Rs
Under the Covers with Caliban

Notes
Permissions

Index