Shakespeare and politics
Greenslade, W. (2011) Shakespeare and politics. In: Marshall, G., ed. (2011) Shakespeare in the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 229-250. ISBN 9780521518246 Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/17351
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This essay examines the complex ways in which Shakespeare’s plays, and the figure of Shakespeare himself becomes entangled in political argument from the post-Napoleonic years until the early twentieth century, particularly as a source of inspiration to working class resistance and, in Shakespeare’s own upward mobility, as a source of inspiration. The essay also examines the role of Shakespeare in the wider cultural politics of the British nineteenth century, including his serviceability in the establishing, from mid-century, a culture of respectability and improvement and national cohesion, culminating in the 1864 celebrations of Shakespeare’s birth and in furnishing the rhetoric of high politics with an ostentatious theatricality which drew on precise and widespread invocation of Shakespeare’s plays.