Shakespeare and Race: Postcolonial Praxis in the Early Modern Period


Shakespeare and Race: Postcolonial Praxis in the Early Modern Period



Shakespeare and Race is a provocative new study that reveals a connection between the subject of race in Shakespeare and the advent of early English colonialism. Citing generally neglected archival evidence, Imtiaz Habib argues that a small population of captured Indians and Africans brought to England during the 16th century provided the impetus for Elizabethan constructions of race rather than existing European traditions in which blackness was represented metaphorically. He explores Tudor and Stuart dramatic representations of black characters, focusing specifically on how race affected Shakespeare personally and historically over the course of his career. Using postcolonial paradigms combined with neo-Marxist, feminist, and psychoanalytic insights, Habib discusses the possible existence of a black woman that Shakespeare knew and wrote about in his Sonnets and examines the design of his black male characters, including Aaron, Othello, and Caliban. Shakespeare and Race represents a significant contribution that will fascinate scholars of literature as well as those interested in the cultural impact of colonialism. []



Publication Date



University Press of America


Lanham, MD


16th century, 17th century, English literature, Blacks in literature, Colonies in literature, Early modern period, Elizabethan, England history, Imperialism in literature, Postcolonialism, Race in literature, William Shakespeare (1564-1616)


Literature in English, British Isles | Race and Ethnicity