R. A. Foakes, Shakespeare: The Dark
Comedies and the Last Plays: from Satire to Celebration
(London: Routledge, 1971), p. 103.
Susan Snyder, ‘The Genres of
Shakespeare’s Plays’, in MargretadeGrazia and
Stanley Wells (eds), The Cambridge Companion to
The place of ‘lechery’ in the problem plays is often acknowledged (see Vivian Thomas, ‘Shakespeare's Problem Plays’, in Barker, Shakespeare's Problem Plays , pp. 21–8 (p. 25)). For example, Hillman explains that ‘chaste love gives way to sexual pursuit’ (Hillman, William Shakespeare , p. 7). See also Susan Snyder, ‘The Genres of Shakespeare's Plays’, in MargretadeGrazia and Stanley Wells (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 83–97 (p. 94
or other of the Plantagenet kings (it matters little which) and its
gothic design may be richly decorated but is decidedly less modern
(and therefore less important) than the Monument’s Roman Doric
column. To use MargretadeGrazia’s language, Freud’s mistake
reveals ‘the exceptional force of that secular divide’ between medieval and modern that ‘determines nothing less than relevance’.3
It reveals Freud’s faith in this divide but also indicates the frequent difficulty of identifying the medieval. For medieval culture
has been so variously reused, reappropriated
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