Shakespeare has made the big time. No less than the Beatles or Liberace, Elvis Presley or Mick Jagger, Shakespeare is big-time in the idiomatic sense of cultural success and widespread notoriety. Not only has he achieved canonical status, Shakespeare is a contemporary celebrity. His artistic distinction and aptitude for controversy constantly keeps his name in the public eye.
Bristol debates Shakespeare's cultural authority, and clarifies the semantics of his name in our culture. Big-Time Shakespeare suggests his plays represent the pathos of our civilisation with extraordinary force and clarity. Shakespeare's contradictory understanding of the social and cultural past is also examined with close analysis of The Winter's Tale, Othello, and Hamlet.