Nineteenth-Century Shakespeares: Nationalism and Moralism
by Mark G. Hollingsworth

Thesis submitted to the University of Nottingham for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy December 2007



Contents Long Abstract Acknowledgements Textual Note i iii vi vii 1


Part One Contexts
Chapter One Nationalism
a) Shakespeare and Nationalism b) Shakespeare and the Nation
i) Ancestry ii) Geography iii) Patriotism

44 44 58 64 70 81 95 101 107 115 115 143 143 149 158 159 167

c) Shakespeare and the Nineteenth Century
i) Whig History ii) Tory History

Chapter Two Moralism
a) Shakespeare and Moralism b) Shakespeare and Private Moralism
i) Relationships and the Family ii) The Marriage of Anne and William Shakespeare

c) Shakespeare and Public Moralism
i) Social Status and Class Position ii) The Business of John and William Shakespeare



Part Two Case Study
Chapter Three The Sonnets
a) The Sonnets b) The Sonnets and Nationalism c) The Sonnets and Moralism
i) The Dark Lady ii) The Fair Youth

176 176 199 222 235 243 251 288 297 298

d) The Sonnets and Ancient Greece

Appendix One Publication Graph Bibliography

Long Abstract


Long Abstract

This thesis shows that ‘Shakespeare’ (both the works and the man) was at the forefront of literary activity in the nineteenth century. By focusing on concerns about the identity of the British nation and its people it shows that Shakespeare was a constant presence in the debates of the day and that a number of agendas were pursued through what were ostensibly writings about Shakespeare’s plays and the biography of their author. The Introduction first notes Shakespeare’s transition from Elizabethan playwright to Victorian cultural icon and proceeds to outline nineteenth-century critical practice and changes in the social organisation of knowledge. From here the shift in how Shakespeare was considered is noted as well as the fact...