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Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the Controversies of Self$
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John Lee

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198185048

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198185048.001.0001

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The Changing of the Guard

The Changing of the Guard

Chapter:
(p.4) (p.5) I The Changing of the Guard
Source:
Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the Controversies of Self
Author(s):

John Lee

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198185048.003.0002

New Historicists argue that by changing the notion of man, the notion of what the critical kingdom should be is changed. Cultural Materialists go much further: pointing to the circular relationship between the subject and the actual kingdom, contemporary ‘Western Liberal democracy’, they argue that by exposing the ‘individual’ (the essentialist notion of man) as a false ideology they can change the state; capitalism, paternalism, and militarism can all be overturned. For Cultural Materialists, asking ‘Who's there?’ is the prelude to a wholesale changing of the guard.

Keywords:   New Historicists, Cultural Materialists, Western Liberal democracy, paternalism

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