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Modern Languages, Basque Studies and Humanities

Shakespeare’s reincarnations

diciembre 19th, 2013 · No hay Comentarios

Many times have Shakespeare’s texts been revised in order to try and discover how the Bard’s actual appearance was at the sixteenth century. Courtney Lehmann is one of the experts that has deeply reflected on this issue. She holds several academic professional posts at the moment; namely, Ad Hoc Member of the Graduate Faculty, University of Kansas (2009), Professor of English Department, University of the Pacific (2008), Associate Professor of English, University of the Pacific (2003-2008), Assistant Professor of English, University of the Pacific (1998-2002), and Associate Instructor, English, Indiana University (at the moment). Her contribution in the work Spectacular Shakespeare: Critical Theory and Popular Cinema sheds a lot of light on the matter of the Stratdford’s Bard’s reincarnations, particularly, in the cinema.

She analyzes Shakespeare in Love (1998), which is a cinematographic production by John Madden that shows one of the most interesting ways of Shakespeare’s postmodern appeareances: I shall explore the way in which this corpus, in all its incarnations -bodily, textual, commercial, and critical- returns from the dead to implore us not love, but rather, to “enjoy”. She states that the film bets for a late-capitalist view of the Elizabethan society. Evidence comes by the similarities between the late-capitalist slang and the specific money-connected signals that appeare in the film; for instance, the adverstisement for a play called THE LAMENTABLE TRAGEDIE OF THE MONEYLENDER REVENGE’D (Lehmman, 2002).

Moreover, Shakespeare -in the film- always complains about his lack of inspiration. He recalls that before, it merely came from superb sexual contacts with women. He repatedly claims that his inspiration came from his very inside and it could not be compared to anything material on earth. Now he has lost this inspiration -until he will Viola; his renewed muse that will allow him come up with the so-called Romeo and Juliet– and he links this lack of vision to the market value that no longer can be detached from his productions.

Thus, the literary genious is thought to be represented -in this film- as a way of a superhero filled by a super-ego that makes him encourage the reader to enjoy and live freely. This is presented as the antinomy of the Elizabethan traditional values of mere prohibition. From this view, capitalism had already reached Shakespeare’s mind and he could be considered as an advanced character for his age.


(Shakespeare in Love, 1998)


-LEHMANN, Courtney. Spectacular Shakespeare: Critical Theory and Popular Cinema (Edit.). Shakespeare in Love: Romancing the Author, Mastering the Body (writ.). Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Pr (February 2002). Retrieved from

-BRAY, Alan. Homosexuality and the Signs of Male Friendship in Elizabethan England. History Workshop Journal: Volume 23, Issue 1, 1994. Retrieved from

Archivado en: Curiosities, Shakespeare Master Works Today, Theatre Tagged: Elizabethan era, Shakespeare in Love


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