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Shakespeare in Theory and Practice$
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Catherine Belsey

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748633012

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633012.001.0001

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Introduction: Practising with Theory

Introduction: Practising with Theory

(p.viii) (p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction: Practising with Theory
Shakespeare in Theory and Practice

Belsey Catherine

Edinburgh University Press

Practice puts theory to the test. New Criticism, the ruling orthodoxy in the USA, made far less impact in the UK, where the only serious debates happened between the old historicism and a sanctimonious appeal to literature as the source of timeless moral truths. Theory casts light on the activity of reading itself and, in the process, transforms the practice it illuminates. ‘Eclecticism’ was held to be a thought crime, indicating shallowness, uncertain allegiance and the mind of a dilettante. Topics that recur in this volume include the access to history, psychoanalysis as a theory of both meaning and love, as well as the relationship between signification and desire as it illuminates the way texts address their readers or audiences.

Keywords:   theory, practice, eclecticism, psychoanalysis, love, desire

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