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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

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

John Lee

Oxford University Press

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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