Shakespeare’s First Folio and the fetish of the book

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Prospero’s renunciation of his book in The Tempest acknowledges its power as a kind of ‘fetish’. This essay traces the idea of the book as ‘commodity fetish’ and as material text. The argument examines how post-Marxist thought, in a new reading of Louis Althusser,might be used to challenge the Shakespeare of late capitalism. It suggests how a complex reading of the fetish in historiography, combining a history of the material book in Shakespeare, with a theoretical reading of WilliamPietz, Stephen Greenblatt and Peter Stallybrass, sheds light on the First Folio, one of the most famous – and fetishized – books in history.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-69
Number of pages20
JournalCahiers Elisabethains
Issue number1
Early online date27 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

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  • Fetishism
  • historiography
  • material texts
  • First Folio
  • Shakespeare
  • Louis Althusser
  • post-Marxism

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