Shakespeare Jahrbuch 2014

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Money and Power 

“Shakespeare excellently depicts the real nature of money”, Karl Marx wrote, as “visible divinity” and “common whore”. In the plays, purses and coins circulate; traders and moneylenders determine the course of action; the language of love is permeated by the language of economy. Shakespeare’s works react to the economic changes of the early modern period and negotiate their moral, religious and political implications. The first three articles of the Jahrbuch are devoted to such fundamental historical changes. Christina von Braun problematizes the question, initiated by the new monetary economy, of how money be authenticated. Jean Howard discusses Shakespeare’s examination of the economic change from feudalism to capitalism, and Isabel Karremann focuses on the complex interrelationship between the market, the individual and theatre. These contributions are complemented by Tiffany Stern’s essay on forms of commerce that do not occur on stage, but before, during and after theatrical performances. This also brings the underlying economic relations of the playhouses into focus: the shift from patronage relationships to commercial playhouses, illuminated by John Blakeley in his article on Twelfth Night and Love’s Labour’s Lost and by Katherine A. Gillen with reference to Timon of Athens. Christopher Balme discusses the changes within a globally acting theatre business, using the example of the Anglo-American theatre manager Maurice E. Bandmann. The interpretations of Shylock, played by Maurice Bandmann’s father Daniel Bandmann on the Australian stages of the 1880s, are at the centre of Nicole Anae’s article. On the basis of the new genre of the ‘gypsy’ Shakespeare film, Mark Thornton Burnett illustrates how the Bard is utilized to depict the situation of the Eastern European Roma after the end of socialism.

Sabine Schülting