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Being and Having in Shakespeare - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Being and Having in Shakespeare

Katharine Eisaman Maus


What is the relation between who a person is, and what he or she has? A number of Shakespeare’s plays engage with this question, elaborating a “poetics of property” centering on questions of authority and entitlement, of inheritance and prodigality, of the different opportunities afforded by access to land and to chattel property. Richard II and the Henry IV plays construe sovereignty as a form of property right, largely construing imperium, or the authority over persons in a polity, as a form of dominium, the authority of the propertyholder. Nonetheless, what property means changes considerab ... More

Keywords: Shakespeare, Richard II, 1 Henry IV, Merchant of Venice, 2 Henry VI, King Lear, property, chattel, landholding, inheritance, prodigal, law and literature

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199698004
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199698004.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Katharine Eisaman Maus, author
James Branch Cabell Professor of English, University of Virginia