Shakespeare and Anglo-Saxon American Preservation

Joseph Quincy Adams writes above of an explicit tie between the promulgation and inculcation of Shakespeare and the white supremacist project. In his essay he depicts the genocide and expulsion of Native Americans in heroic terms of Anglo-Saxon industriousness.

With choice wording of Bardolotry, Adams compares Shakespeare’s Works, and especially the Folio, to the Bible, and equates the two with the development of the “homogenous” American.

“But I will not labor a point that needs no stressing. Rather, I desire to show the influence which Shakespeare has exerted upon American life, and the importance of that influence in preserv- ing English culture among a people who now occupy a domain vaster than the Elizabethans dreamed of. And, in order to make the story clear, I shall deal successively with the three periods in our history which, it seems to me, have exercised a determining force in molding our civilization: first, the period of the British settlement of the colonies, when the foundations of our racial stock and of our American culture were laid; secondly, the period of territorial expansion, when frontier conditions came to modify the character of our nation as a whole; and thirdly, the period of foreign immigration, when the ethnic texture of our popula- tion was seriously altered. And I shall try to show that in all three periods Shakespeare played no small part in fulfilling the patriotic wish of the Elizabethans, “ours to hold, Virginia”—not, to be sure, in political bonds, but, what is more important, in bonds of a common Anglo-Saxon culture.”

Marcus, “The Shakespearean Editor as Shrew‐Tamer”

Marcus, Leah. “The Shakespearean Editor as Shrew‐Tamer.” English Literary Renaissance 22, no. 2 (1992): 177-200, at 181.

What gets called “Shakespeare” in the case of A Shrew and The Shrew is protean and malleable, shifting over the years along with literary fashions, along with social mores, and especially-this is the part that interests me the most-along with shifting views of male violence and female subordination. “Shakespeare” is a historical construction, grounded in historical data, to be sure, but data so scanty that they can be reconfigured rather easily to support one or another hypothesis about what constitutes a genuine text.