Abstract

Is Shakespeare or the Renaissance/early modern period white property? My asking about whiteness as a Shakespearean or early modern property is not just about the instrumentality of whiteness in the period but also about whether there’s a working assumption in the field, one of the “unspeakable things unspoken,” not simply that the early modern period isn’t about race but that it is also, as a field, white property. This essay seeks to make salient what it argues is a “white melancholia,” a whiteness signifying outside the bounds of race, operating in much of the critical resistance to Shakespeare and early modern studies. It attends especially to how New Historicism has shaped our understanding of early modern race and has obscured a thriving racial literacy in Shakespeare and the early modern period.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-3555
Print ISSN
0037-3222
Pages
pp. 84-103
Launched on MUSE
2016-08-15
Open Access
No
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