This remarkable volume challenges scholars and students to look beyond a dominant European and North American 'metropolitan bank' of Shakespeare knowledge. As well as revealing the potential for a new understanding of Shakespeare's plays, Martin Orkin adopts a fresh approach to issues of power, where 'proximations' emerge from a process of dialogue and challenge traditional notions of authority. Since their first performances, Shakespeare's plays and their audiences or readers have journeyed to one another across time and space, to and from countless and always different historical, geographical and ideological locations. Engagement with a Shakespeare text always entails in part, then, cultural encounter or clash, and readings are shaped by a reader's particular location and knowledge. Part I of this book encourages us to recognise the way in which 'local' or 'non-metropolitan' knowledges and experiences might extend understanding of Shakespeare's texts and their locations. Part II demonstrates the use of local as well as metropolitan knowledges in exploring the presentation of masculinity in Shakespeare's late plays.
These plays themselves dramatise encounters with different cultures and, crucially, challenges to established authority. Questioning the authority of metropolitan scholarship, twenty-first century global capitalism and the masculinist imperatives that drive it, Orkin's daring, powerful work will have reverberations throughout, but also well beyond the field of Shakespeare studies.
University of Haifa, Israel