“Shakespeare is my homeboy”: The Man, the Myth, the Mug?

Keep Culture Weird

There are a lot of weird Shakespeare-inspired artifacts out there. I use the phrase “Shakespeare-inspired” rather than “Shakespearean” because the latter term on its surface seems to imply a direct descendant of the Shakespearean canon: stagings, adaptations, etc. Many of the objects that I’m most interested in seem to have very little to do with Shakespeare or his works. But this is precisely the kind of question I’m most interested in when considering Shakespeare’s spectral presence in contemporary American culture: has this distinction become an arbitrary line? Over the next few months, the students from my Introduction to Shakespeare class and I will explore this question more fully by considering all the weird Shakespeareana that seems to reproduce and multiply at an astonishing rate. Is there really a tipping point when the object becomes too weird — too “wayward” from Shakespeare’s legacy — to carry his name? What is the…

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