Edinburgh University Press
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Through theory, world-renowned critic Catherine Belsey registers Shakespeare's powers of seduction together with his moment in history. Teasing out meaning from his narrative poems, as well as his more familiar plays, Shakespeare in Theory and Practice is a brilliant fusion between attention to textuality and the power of the archive. Belsey's reading of the Sonnets, written just for this book, is a particularly acute analysis of their intricate and ambivalent inscription of desire.
Belsey has been intimately involved with poststructuralism as it has emerged and developed in the English-speaking world. Her earliest essays are strongly influenced by Roland Barthes and Louis Althusser, writers who acknowledged the psychoanalytic account of representation as always unstable, designed at once to reveal and to repress. Belsey's later work has more in common with Lacanian psychoanalysis, in addition to Derridean deconstruction. Taken together, her essays trace the progress of theory over three decades, and the original introduction to this collection gives a narrative and analytical overview, from a participant's perspective, of the implications of Belsey's work.
*A prominent critic writing on a central figure of English literature
*An exemplary demonstration of poststructuralist theory at work
*Pays particular attention to desire as a theme and as a component of interpretation
*Close readings combine the historical and the theoretical.