Black Shakespeare: Reading and Misreading Race

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Race may dominate everyday speech, media headlines and public policy, yet still questions of racialized blackness and whiteness in Shakespeare are resisted. In his compelling new book Ian Smith addresses the influence of systemic whiteness on the interpretation of Shakespeare's plays. This far-reaching study shows that significant parts of Shakespeare's texts have been elided, misconstrued or otherwise rendered invisible by readers who have ignored the presence of race in early modern England. Bringing the Black American intellectual tradition into fruitful dialogue with European thought, this urgent interdisciplinary work offers a deep, revealing and incisive analysis of individual plays, including Othello, The Merchant of Venice and Hamlet. Demonstrating how racial illiteracy inhibits critical practice, Ian Smith provides a necessary anti-racist alternative that will transform the way you read Shakespeare.

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Cambridge University Press
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