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.)