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Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 January 2024

Monika Smialkowska
Affiliation:
Northumbria University, Newcastle
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Summary

This section situates the study within the current debates surrounding the issues of commemoration, cultural memory, and identity. It applies the insights offered by memory studies to investigate the political implications of Shakespearean appropriation and legacy. It introduces the key focus of the book: the ways in which memorialising Shakespeare was used to formulate and contest imperial, national, and social identities during the global crisis of the First World War. As diverse groups evoked him to underpin their collective past and common values, Shakespeare provided a starting point for dialogue and a shared ‘language’ in which it could be conducted. This dialogue was not always friendly, as people used Shakespeare not only to highlight their commonalities, but also to insist on their differences. Although imperialist and nationalist agendas often dominated, Shakespeare also provided an outlet for other, usually silenced and forgotten voices, as marginalised racial, ethnic, and social groups adopted him to respond to the prevalent totalising narratives. Examining these exchanges within the framework of memory studies offers a unique view of the intertwining of culture and politics at the time that saw the emergence of the world order which is still with us over a hundred years later.

Type
Chapter
Information
Shakespeare's Tercentenary
Staging Nations and Performing Identities in 1916
, pp. 1 - 21
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Introduction
  • Monika Smialkowska, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  • Book: Shakespeare's Tercentenary
  • Online publication: 13 January 2024
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009280839.001
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Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Introduction
  • Monika Smialkowska, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  • Book: Shakespeare's Tercentenary
  • Online publication: 13 January 2024
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009280839.001
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • Monika Smialkowska, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  • Book: Shakespeare's Tercentenary
  • Online publication: 13 January 2024
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009280839.001
Available formats
×