Shakespeare's Words of the Future: Promising Richard III

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    Abstract

    The question of temporality in relation to early modern texts, and to Shakespeare's texts in particular, has been reawakened recently in terms of a debate on the one hand represented by a historicism that sees anachronism as fundamentally illegitimate, and on the other by a critical practice which favours 'presentism'. Tracing two parallel readings ' one of the history of the promise and its relation to temporality (in Plato, Hobbes, Kant, Nietzsche, Austin, Derrida and de Man), and the other of Shakespeare's Richard III from the perspective of promising ' this article proposes that both historicist and presentist projects must face the problem presented by the status of the future. Following Derrida's distinction between two forms of futurity, pure presentism is seen to be no more viable than a critical approach entirely purged of anachronism, however much these possibilities continue to tempt early modern studies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)13-30
    Number of pages18
    JournalTextual Practice
    Volume19
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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