This stunning collection of essays by Terence Hawkes engages with, explains, and explores 'presentism', a critical manoeuvre which uses relevant aspects of the contemporary as a trigger for its investigations. Beginning with the material present, Hawkes suggests how its principles may be applied to aspects of Shakespeare's plays. He concentrates on two main areas, firstly 'devolution' in British politics and secondly presentism's commitment to a reversal of conceptual hierarchies such as primary/secondary, past/present and the interaction between performance and reference. Hawkes expands our notion of performing, refocusing interest on what the early modern theatre meant by the activity it termed 'playing'.
Terence Hawkes is Emeritus Professor of English at Cardiff University. He is the author of a number of books on literary theory and on Shakespeare, including Structuralism and Semiotics (1977), That Shakespearian Rag (1986) and Meaning by Shakespeare (1992). He is also General Editor of the Accents on Shakespeare series published by Routledge.