critiques, of Hamlet’s sadistic postponement of revenge until he
can ‘trip him that his heels may kick at heaven’
[ Hamlet, 3,4,93 ]. As MargretadeGrazia writes, the question
‘great minds have been asking’ for centuries is
‘How could this diabolic desire be reconciled with the nobility
and decency of Hamlet’s character?’ But the analogy
with his Prince of Hesitation also associates Shakespeare
early modern studies in recent years, exemplified by critics
such as David Kastan, Peter Stallybrass and MargretadeGrazia.
A critique of the presuppositions of this movement might
usefully begin precisely from this moment in de Man.
Aristotle, Rhetoric , trans. W. Rhys
Roberts, in Complete
1660–1769 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992 ); MargretadeGrazia, Shakespeare Verbatim: The
Reproduction of Authenticity and the 1790 Apparatus (Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1991 ).
For a short history of such ‘Negative
Capability’, mentioning the commentators cited, as well as
discussion of textual and performance criticism
situate and contest existing contemporary cultural
norms concerning truth, value and meaning it follows that, just as Shakespeare
becomes aesthetical, he becomes political and contentious too. So that as MargretadeGrazia observes, the playwright’s work is central to:
the neo-classical critical tradition of determining Beauties and Faults, an exercise that
required and refined the generally interchangeable faculties of Taste, Judgement and
Reason. Analysis of an author’s Beauties and Faults (Excellencies and Blemishes)
involved major critical issues, the rivalry
early biographical reading of the first few
lines of The Merry Wives of Windsor , in which Shakespeare puns on
Sir Thomas Lucy’s name in a scene partly about deer-poaching.
MargretadeGrazia notes that ‘the anecdotes are less a form of
biography than of literary criticism: they record not the life
Shakespeare lived between 1564 and 1616 but the impression his works
made after his death’ (De Grazia
N[icholas Ling] and John Trundell, 1603; STC 22275), sig.
F2r–v. My thanks to Katherine Duncan-Jones for discussing
this passage with me.
MargretaDeGrazia notes that all four jokes
‘give vent to the unsatisfactory conditions of his
For a lively re-examination of anthropomorphism, see also Lorraine
Daston and Greg Mitman (eds), Thinking with Animals: New
Perspectives on Anthropomorphism (New York: Columbia University
3 See especially Bennett, Vibrant Matter.
4 I draw upon Hodder, Entangled, pp. 4–
5. Cf. Gilles Deleuze and
Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, trans. B. Massumi (London:
5 See, for example, MargretaDeGrazia, Maureen Quilligan and
Peter Stallybrass (eds), Subject and Object in Renaissance Culture
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Literary Genealogy’, Modern Philology , 91 (1993), 1–25.
20 Louis Montrose, ‘Spenser’s Domestic Domain: Poetry, Property, and the Early Modern Subject’, in MargretadeGrazia, Maureen Quilligan and Peter Stallybrass (ed.), Subject and Object in Renaissance Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 83–130 (p. 97).
21 Montrose initially acknowledges that the volume is a poetic miscellany, introducing it as ‘[a poetry book] containing Colin Clouts Come Home Againe , as well as Astrophel and other
implicitly balances Spenser’s official duties as Sheriff of Cork against
the poetic industry which has produced this poem and volume. We
understand that Ralegh has rebuked Spenser for neglecting the
former; Spenser’s reply contends that what he has been doing instead
1 Louis Adrian Montrose, ‘Spenser’s Domestic Domain: Poetry, Property, and the
Early Modern Subject’, in MargretadeGrazia, Maureen Quilligan and Peter Stallybrass (eds), Subject and Object in Renaissance Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1996).
discussion of Harold Jenkins (ed.), Hamlet , The Arden Shakespeare, 2nd ser. (London: Methuen, 1982), pp. 89–96, who concludes that the question is unanswerable (p. 96). Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor (eds), Hamlet: The Texts of 1603 and 1623 , The Arden Shakespeare, 3rd ser. (London: Thomson Learning, 2006), pp. 66–77, remain cautious (Shakespeare ‘may possibly have read’, ‘may have known’, ‘may have read Belleforest in French’). MargretadeGrazia, Hamlet without Hamlet (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), prefers to conjecture that he read the English