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Shakespeare and South Africa$
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David Johnson

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198183150

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198183150.001.0001

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Travelling Theory: To the Present

Travelling Theory: To the Present

(p.181) 6 Travelling Theory: To the Present
Shakespeare and South Africa

David Johnson

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with Shakespeare criticism and radical critical theory and explores how this radical theory has travelled to South Africa in the last 25 years. It is based on the conviction that this criticism represents an interesting departure from previous formulations of English literature's social function. Two key essays from U.S.-based academics have been particularly influential. The first is Edward Said's ‘Traveling Theory’ and the second is Adrienne Rich's ‘Notes toward a Politics of Location’. The chapter also introduces an analysis associated with Roland Barthes's famous essay ‘The Death of the Author’. Much of the credit for adding scare quotes to the name ‘Shakespeare’ can be given to Barthes's essay, with William Shakespeare, the most authorised of all authors, placed under fresh critical scrutiny in the light of Barthe's attempted murder.

Keywords:   Shakespeare criticism, critical theory, South Africa, English literature, Edward Said, Traveling Theory, Adrienne Rich, Roland Barthes, William Shakespeare

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