Re-Packaged and Re-Sold: Shakespeare as a Cultural product

Poonperm Paitayawat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This academic survey “Re-Packaged and Re-Sold: Shakespeare as a Cultural Product” is an attempt to posit non-literary Shakespeare in British culture in hope of answering the question: “What makes Shakespeare important?”. It seems not only to demystify the god-like status of Shakespeare but also to address the discursive cultural significance and insignificance of Shakespeare in contemporary British cultures as opposed to the intellectual importance of his works.

The first part of the survey traces the development of the Bard and his cultural status from a quintessential theatre-poet, to the overrated object of idolatry, all of which influence how Shakespeare is perceived and understood in British culture after his demise. The development, as it is argued, owes much to the merging of two seemingly different traditions: theatrical and literary, both of which quote and re-quote, manipulate and appropriate Shakespeare. The second part of the survey discusses the more contemporary institutionalisation of Shakespeare since the inauguration of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1961, whilst taking into account the changing, more diverse notion of British cultures that Shakespeare and his works are defined against. It also addresses the rampant commercialisation of Shakespeare and the noticeable growth of the Shakespearean tourist industry both in Stratford-upon-Avon and London. Re-packaged, Shakespeare survives as a product that befits every era, and his popularity becomes instrumental in defining and re-defining “British Culture”.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2010

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