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Shakespeare’s First Folio and the fetish of the book

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JournalCahiers Elisabethains
DateE-pub ahead of print - 27 Mar 2017
DatePublished (current) - 1 Jul 2017
Issue number1
Volume93
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)50-69
Early online date27/03/17
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

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.

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© 2017, The Author(s). This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

    Research areas

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

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