The idea of Communism in Shakespeare

Book chapter

Holbrook, Peter. (2020). The idea of Communism in Shakespeare. In In Ruiter, David (Ed.). The Arden research handbook of Shakespeare and social justice pp. 251-265 Bloomsbury Academic.
AuthorsHolbrook, Peter
EditorsRuiter, David

[Excerpt] I might have entitled this chapter ‘Shakespeare and the idea of harmony’ or perhaps ‘Shakespeare and order’ – both of which titles would have been less immediately alarming. They might have conveyed my meaning more exactly, perhaps. But I wanted to get in the suggestion of ‘communism’ so as not to lose sight of the contemporary salience of the set of ideas I want to discuss. Communism is now pretty much unthinkable, unsayable, at least in respectable public speech. So the concepts presented in these pages may have only historical interest. Still, I think they are important, and especially now, in the no-longer quite- early years of the twenty-first century, when ‘competition’ is the default framework for understanding the economy. It is perhaps only in disregarded fields such as academic literary criticism that the social ideal might resurface – doing so precisely because it is deemed irrelevant to the larger culture; for, politically speaking, even the moderate state welfarism of the postwar period, as Tony Judt has shown, is virtually extinct.

Page range251-265
Book titleThe Arden research handbook of Shakespeare and social justice
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Place of publication London, England ; New York, New York
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publisher's version
All rights reserved
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Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online26 Nov 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited07 Oct 2021
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Related outputs

Passionate Shakespeare
Holbrook, Peter. (2020). Passionate Shakespeare. In In Craik, Katharine A. (Ed.). Shakespeare and emotion pp. 181-195 Cambridge University Press.
Holbrook, Peter. (2019). Drama. In In Walker, Claire, Barclay, Katie and Lemmings , David (Ed.). A cultural history of the emotions in the Baroque and Enlightenment Age pp. 71-84 Bloomsbury Publishing.