“By Nature Fram’d to Wear a Crown”? Decolonizing the Shakespeare Authorship Question
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Dudley, Michael. "By Nature Fram'd to Wear a Crown? Decolonizing the Shakespeare Authorship Question." Brief Chronicles 5 (2014): 11-30.
The paper suggests that the academy's marginalization of Shakespeare authorship scholarship originates in the imperial origins of the broader culture, in particular within the totalizing, essentialist and self-aggrandizing rhetoric concerning the "natural genius" of both "the West" and its paragon, William Shakespeare of Stratford-Upon-Avon. Postcolonial readings of early Shakespeareana and contemporary defenders of Western imperialism demonstrate how the invocation of "Nature" as an explanatory metanarrative was the keystone element in establishing the "genius of the West," of which the semi-divine Shakespeare was a not insignificant ingredient. Seeing the quasi-religious grace of "natural genius" as the origin of and Divine support for the European-dominated global order of the colonial era -- and the corresponding privileged position of the white race -- both elevated the colonizer and Shakespeare himself from ontological scrutiny.