Reinventing Shakespeare (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
Reinventing Shakespeare: A Cultural History, from the Restoration to the Present is tripartite. The first five chapters trace the fortunes of popular and critical response to William Shakespeare, from the Restoration in 1660 until the mid-twentieth century; chapter 6, “Present Tense,” attempts to delineate what author Gary Taylor calls a “turmoil” in Shakespeare criticism; the seventh and concluding chapter, “Singularity,” is Taylor’s own appraisal of Shakespeare’s place in the literary firmament.
Taylor himself is a partisan, a fomenter of turmoil and a self-confessed young Turk; feisty, sharp-tongued, at times contradictory, his study of “Shakesperotics” (Taylor’s neologism for the study of how a culture imparts meaning to Shakespeare and in turn is shaped by Shakespeare) is far from objective. At the conclusion of Reinventing Shakespeare, Taylor cautions his readers not to trust him; notes are provided, he writes, so skeptics can check his interpretations of literary history. Yet the general reader, for whom the book is intended, would be unlikely to know in advance what Taylor has “overlooked or suppressed.” This disingenuousness is precisely illustrative of one of Taylor’s main concerns: that those who have a stake in the modern Shakespeare industry-academic critics and critics of critics, those who owe their livelihood to the cultural icon they themselves have fashioned—have been less than candid with...
(The entire section is 1833 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
Insight. V, September 4, 1989, p.60.
The Nation. CCXLIX, October 16, 1989, p.429.
The New Republic. CCI, October 16, 1989, p.49.
The New York Review of Books. XXXVII, February 1, 1990, p.15.
The New York Times. September 1, 1989, p. B4(N).
The New York Times Book Review. XCIV, September 17, 1989, p.28.
The Washington Post Book World. XIX, August 27, 1989, p. 1.
(The entire section is 49 words.)