Introduction: Shakespeare and Modernity
Of course, just what we mean by ‘modernity’ is itself a crucial issue within several contentious debates of contemporary critical theory. In fact, it has by now become so complex and variegated a matter (especially since the acceleration of technical and social change characteristic of the past century) that words with the stem or root ‘modern’ have proliferated. We now speak of the modern, modernity, modernism, modernization and the postmodern (with a number of possible variations for this last), sometimes as rough synonyms, sometimes to try to designate specific aspects of the cluster of ideas that has developed around the term. The result has been a confusion of terminology and a corresponding confusion of ideas.