chapter  9
21 Pages

Shakespeare and the End of History: Period as Brand Name

ByDouglas Bruster

As I write this, the current telephone book in Austin, Texas lists more than a dozen ‘Renaissance’ businesses – firms, that is, that call themselves ‘Renaissance ___’. These include a women’s hospital, a hotel, a builder, a glass company, and a pest control service (this last perhaps an ironic match for a word that promises rebirth). In this context, ‘Renaissance’ is an all-purpose modifier that seems to assure us of the quality of services rendered. A business using ‘Renaissance’ in its name – for instance, ‘Renaissance Stone Design’ – shares a family resemblance with ‘Prestige Roofing’, ‘Deluxe Carpet Cleaners’, ‘Classic Pizza’, and ‘Elite Electrolysis and Waxing’, all listed in the same telephone book.