Timing of Shakespeare

Terry Eagleton gives Kermode’s The Age of Shakespeare a glowing review in the current issue of The Nation. The Bard, Eagleton observes,

managed to get himself born at exactly the right moment for artistic greatness. Major art often flourishes on the fault lines between civilizations, fed by complex cross-currents between one form of life and another. Tragedy in particular has flared up at these points of turbulent transition. Shakespeare’s England was still a repressive, court-centered monarchy, in which Jesuits could be torn apart in public as popular entertainment. But Kermode points out that finance and commodity markets were growing apace, as middle-class opportunists like the Swan of Avon stealthily accumulated power. It was in the reign of Elizabeth that the joint-stock company first took off.

(Via A&L Daily.)


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