Shakespeare and Contemporary Theory

Rethinking approaches to Shakespeare and early modern literature for the 21st century

Marcus Nordlund

Shakespeare and Contemporary Theory #4: Marcus Nordlund

Neema interviews Marcus Nordlund, author of Shakespeare and the Nature of Love. Topics include: false dichotomies, straw men and the academic market place; can you talk about Shakespeare’s characters as if they are real people?; the validity of Jacques Lacan’s theories; the importance of developing a ‘biocultural’ view when reading literature; and Shakespeare’s perspectivism.

Hugh Grady

Shakespeare and Contemporary Theory #3: Hugh Grady


This week Neema is joined by Professor Hugh Grady, one of the figures at the forefront of the movement in Shakespeare studies known as ‘presentism’. Topics include: the influence of deconstruction on new historicism and cultural materialism; Stephen Greenblatt’s relationship with Marxist theory; the different receptions of Louis Althusser and Michel Foucault in America and Britain; Fredric Jameson; the importance of subjectivity to Shakespeare criticism; Jacques Lacan; and presentism and politics.

Brian Boyd

Shakespeare and Contemporary Theory #2: Brian Boyd


Neema interviews Professor Brian Boyd, one of the world’s leading experts on literature and evolution. Topics include: the antifoundationalism of Karl Popper; criticisms of new historicism and cultural materialism; human nature, universals and literature; dominance and counter-dominance, self-interest and altruism; mate choice or romantic love;  why do we make up stories?; David Bordwell and presentism.

Jonathan Dollimore

Shakespeare and Contemporary Theory #1: Jonathan Dollimore

In this first episode, Neema is joined by one of the founders of cultural materialism, Professor Jonathan Dollimore. Topics include: the importance of interdisciplinary study; differences between the French and English versions of Marxism; Karl Marx; Jean-Paul Sartre; George Steiner; Cilla Black, the 1960s and cultural memory; nature versus nurture and the question of sexuality; how Stephen Greenblatt is a bit like Bob Dylan; how cultural materialism might proceed; do we need to try to define a set of human universals or not?; and the current state of play in Shakespeare studies and the importance of ‘thinking deep, thinking hard’.

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