Chapter

Introduction: Practising with Theory

Belsey Catherine

in Shakespeare in Theory and Practice

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780748633012
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652235 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633012.003.0001
Introduction: Practising with Theory

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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

Chapter.  6825 words. 

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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