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Chapter 7 - Not of an age

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 December 2015

Paul Franssen
Affiliation:
Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
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Summary

Like apparitions of Shakespeare’s ghost, stories in which Shakespeare is either brought to the present or visited in his own era by means of a time machine turn on direct contact between Shakespeare and the modern world. Time-travel narratives, as a subgenre of science fiction, usually partake in popular culture’s ambiguous relationship with Shakespeare, as both an icon of cultural value and as a figure to be debunked. Accordingly, they often represent Shakespeare as grotesque in his body and bodily functions. Besides, many suggest that he is a sort of hack writer, and mock the way his works are received by a bardolatrous establishment. The pretensions of the humanities, too, are ridiculed and contrasted with the genuine achievements of the hard sciences. Thus, such stories support a middle-brow discourse on high culture. Some time-travel stories, however, such as those by Anthony Burgess and Hugh Kingsmill, are in fact far from low-brow. Whereas Burgess’s “The Muse” sends up modern literary theory in a time-travel parody, Kingsmill uses the form to deconstruct contemporary ideas about Shakespeare as self-projections and catering to the masses. Stories involving magical means of time travel, too, usually eschew the technocratic discourse of the time-travel narrative.
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Shakespeare's Literary Lives
The Author as Character in Fiction and Film
, pp. 228 - 246
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2016

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  • Not of an age
  • Paul Franssen, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Book: Shakespeare's Literary Lives
  • Online publication: 18 December 2015
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316410851.008
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  • Not of an age
  • Paul Franssen, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Book: Shakespeare's Literary Lives
  • Online publication: 18 December 2015
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316410851.008
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send 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 sending content to Google Drive.

  • Not of an age
  • Paul Franssen, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Book: Shakespeare's Literary Lives
  • Online publication: 18 December 2015
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316410851.008
Available formats
×