Shakespeare and the Making of America

Shakespeare and the Making of America

by Kevin J. Hayes


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This book traces the history of reading Shakespeare in British North America during the 18th century, a story that goes from Drury Lane Theatre in London to the backwoods of South Carolina to the back alleys of Boston to Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Hayes looks at how the Founding Fathers read, understood, and applied the words of Shakespeare to suit a new nation. Shakespeare’s plays were not just read for entertainment; they were also appreciated for their insights into the human condition.. American writers quoted Shakespeare to justify their actions during the French and Indian War, the Stamp Act crisis, and the Revolutionary War. Echoes of Shakespeare can be heard in some of the most fundamental documents in American history: the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781445688060
Publisher: Amberley Publishing
Publication date: 11/15/2020
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 471,487
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Kevin J. Hayes, Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma, now lives and writes in Toledo, Ohio. He is the author of George Washington: A Life in Books, which has won the 2018 George Washington Book Prize; The Mind of a Patriot: Patrick Henry and the World of Ideas; and The Road to Monticello: Thomas Jefferson and the Life of the Mind.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 6

Preface 7

1 Mr William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies 11

2 Benjamin Franklin and the Governors 29

3 Franklin Redux 45

4 William Parks and the Virginia Gazette 62

5 Dr Alexander Hamilton and the Ancient and Honourable Tuesday Club of Annapolis, Maryland 78

6 The Colonial American Stage 94

7 John Mercer, Governor Dinwiddie and the Dinwiddianae 109

8 The Labyrinth of Mental Nature: Reading Shakespeare, Becoming John Adams 127

9 The 1760s 143

10 Jefferson and His Williamsburg Circle 160

11 The Blast of War 178

12 Band of Brothers 198

13 American Shakespeareans in Europe 215

14 How Shakespeare Ratified the Constitution 230

Notes 244

List of Illustrations 277

Index 279

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