chapter  1
Introduction: Ideology and its Discontents
ByIvo Kamps
Pages 12

Shakespeare Left and Right grew out of a Special Session of the Modern Language Association on the Role of Ideology in Shakespeare studies, held in Washington, D. C. A critique of ideology acknowledges its positional status is not free from implying the existence of a hierarchy of knowledge, but it makes that hierarchy an overt and therefore political feature of the critical debate. Bristol and Sprinker press for a scientific approach to ideology, while Richard Levin suggests that people can only resolve the present epistemological dilemma by appealing to objectivism, pluralism, and rationalism. Louis Althusser's ideology is also an inescapable mode of cognition, a mode which finds expression in the "imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence". In 'The Death of Literature', Alvin Kernan laments that the new critical approaches strip literature of 'positive value' and 'social usefulness' and empty it out in the service of social and political causes that are considered more important then texts themselves.