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By Sonya Freeman Loftis (auth.)

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Extra info for Shakespeare’s Surrogates: Rewriting Renaissance Drama

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On the shelf you would find Shaw’s own plays along with “all the literary implements for forming the mind of the perfect modern Socialist and Creative Evolutionist” (9–10). As the play that follows makes clear, what is off the shelf is Shakespeare. His plays, iff accepted uncritically, make for poor reading, and Shaw goes on, through Ellie, to showcase the dangers of reading romantic fictions. Shaw describes the readers and reading of cultured Europe: “They did not wish to realize Utopia for the common people: they wished to realize their favorite fictions and poems in their own lives” (8).

Yet the performance of forgetting proves to be closely related to the performance of memory: while plays such as xxxiv ● Introduction d Endgamee and Happy Dayss dramatize the act (and art) of forgetting, they also show that the struggle to forget the literary canon is always incomplete. The next chapter discusses Tom Stoppard’s comic take on performing death and replacing Shakespeare. Rosencrantz andd Guildenstern are Deadd focuses on the body of the player in his phantom death, questioning both the intellectual possibility and the cultural purpose of performing death.

19 Thus, Shaw asserts that his criticism worked to popularize the Bard even as he argues that his own work is legitimated by Shakespeare’s. Yet Shaw’s writings about Shakespeare often display the paradox central to surrogation: repetition as change. While Shaw w attempts to associate himself with Shakespeare thorough legitimizing myths, he simultaneously attempts to distinguish himself from Shakespeare and to show that his plays are different in style and purpose from those of his dramatic predecessor.

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