The name of an author, Michel Foucault famously observed, does not simply refer to a specific historical person who lived and wrote; “more than an indication, a gesture, a finger pointed at someone,” he writes, “it is the equivalent of a description.” That is, attaching an author's name (and image) to a text (or product) predisposes us to interpret it in a certain manner, to classify it with certain texts (or products) and not with others, to expect it to have certain qualities, themes, ideas, or formal traits. For an example, one need look no further than Shakespeare. In culture generally, but certainly in popular culture, the name and image of “Shakespeare” has become a byword for a set of qualities that have been attached to an astonishing variety of texts and products - bank cards, £20 notes (from 1970-93), beer, crockery, fishing tackle, book publishing, cigars, pubs, and breath mints, to name a few. “Shakespeare” has come to serve as an adjective, a tool potentially for reshaping the associations of objects that become linked with his name. The phenomenon to which Foucault points bears interesting affiliations with the phenomenon of branding, in many ways the popular counterpart of the critical operation he describes. Like an author's name, a brand is a sign that is instantly recognizable, distinctive, transferable (that is, capable of being attached to an array of products), and powerful and productive in its connotations. The significance of a brand (or author's) name is not controlled by a single marketer or critic, but rather emerges from myriad interactions between producers, consumers, and various cultural intermediaries and contexts. Brands have become ubiquitous elements of contemporary popular culture, functioning like authors' names as principles for classifying texts and products.