Skip to main content

30% Off New Releases: Explore the List

Harvard University Press - home
Notorious Identity

Notorious Identity

Materializing the Subject in Shakespeare

Linda Charnes

ISBN 9780674627819

Publication date: 08/11/1995

Richard III, Troilus and Cressida, Antony and Cleopatra—these were figures of intense signification long before Shakespeare took up the task of giving them new life on the stage. And when he did, Linda Charnes argues, he used these legendary figures to explore a new kind of fame—notorious identity—an infamy based not on the moral and ethical “use value” of legend but on a commodification of identity itself: one that must be understood in the context of early modern England’s emergent capitalism and its conditions of economic, textual, theatrical, and cultural reproduction. Ranging across cultural materialism, new historicism, feminist psychoanalysis, cultural anthropology, deconstruction, and theories of postmodernity, the author practices a “theory without organs”—which she provocatively calls a constructive “New Hystericism”—retheorizing the discourses of reigning methodologies as much as those in Shakespeare’s plays.


  • An impressive virtuoso performance on an important topic in Shakespearean cultural studies… The book’s strengths lie in its ability to conduct clever textual analyses…couched in skillfully maneuvered, diverse theoretical contexts;…its generally rich and sophisticated tissue of associate, interdisciplinary European post-modernist discourses…and popular culture topics;…and its occasional penetrating historical and cultural generalizations… This is a prodigious first attempt and it deserves praise for that reason. In subject and ambition, it should make for serious reading in post-modernist Shakespeare.

    —Imtiaz Habib, South Carolina Review


  • Linda Charnes is Associate Professor of English, Renaissance Studies, and Cultural Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Book Details

  • 227 pages
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • Harvard University Press