Shakespeare and the politics of commoners: Digesting the new social history

Research output: Book/ReportBook

8 Scopus citations


This book is a highly original contribution to our understanding of Shakespeare’s plays in two ways. First, it breaks important new ground in introducing readers, lay and scholarly alike, to the existence and character of the political culture of the mass of ordinary commoners in Shakespeare’s England, as revealed by the recent findings of ‘the new social history’. Demonstrating the vibrant, critical, and philosophically dissident politics of plebeians in the Tudor period, the volume thereby helps challenge the traditional myths of a non-political commons and a culture of obedience. Second, it brings together leading Shakespeareans, digesting the recent social history, with eminent early modern social historians, turning their focus upon Shakespeare. The genuinely cross-disciplinary work resulting generates fresh readings of ten plays, locating the penetration of Shakespearean drama by popular political thought and pressure in this period of perceived social crisis. No other volume on Shakespeare has engaged and digested the dramatic importance of the discoveries of the new social history, resituating and revaluing Shakespeare within the remarkable social depth of early modern politics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages264
ISBN (Electronic)9780198806899
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Commoner
  • New social history
  • Plebeian
  • Shakespeare
  • Tudor period


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