Constellation Caliban: Figurations of a Character
We are now in the Age of Caliban rather than in the Time of Ariel or the Era of Prospero, Harold Bloom claimed in 1992. Bloom was specifically referring to Caliban's rising popularity as the prototype of the colonised or repressed subject, especially since the 1980s. However, already earlier the figure of Caliban had inspired artists from the most divergent backgrounds: Robert Browning, Ernest Renan, Aimé Césaire, and Peter Greenaway, to name only some of the better known.
Much has already been published on Caliban, and there exist a number of excellent surveys of this character's appearance in literature and the other arts. The present collection does not aim to trace Caliban over the ages. Rather, Constellation Caliban intends to look at a number of specific refigurations of Caliban. What is the Caliban-figure's role and function within a specific work of art? What is its relation to the other signifiers in that work of art? What interests are invested in the Caliban-figure, what values does it represent or advocate? Whose interests and values are these?
These and similar questions guided the contributors to the present volume. In other words, what one finds here is not a study of origins, not a genealogy, not a reception-study, but rather a fascinating series of case studies informed by current theoretical debate in areas such as women's studies, sociology of literature and of the intellectuals, nation-formation, new historicism, etc.
Its interdisciplinary approach and its attention to matters of multi-culturalism make Constellation Caliban into an unusually wide ranging and highly original contribution to Shakespeare-studies. The book should appeal to students of English Literature, Modern European Literature, Comparative Literature, Drama or Theatre Studies, and Cultural Studies, as well as to anyone interested in looking at literature within a broad social and historical context while still appreciating detailed textual analyses.
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