Afterword: Shakespeare, the Swing Voter
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“Shakespeare, the Swing Voter” examines the difficulties of teaching Shakespeare’s works to working-class students at a comprehensive university. Shakespeare’s own cultural politics are notoriously dubious given his tendency to use irony and distancing effects in his plays. Dionne discusses the pressures of teaching in an outcome-based General Education curriculum, which he argues is an instance of neoliberalism in the way it applies consumerism and market logic to the college experience. The essays in this collection, he suggests, work to restore the political context to Shakespeare’s empathetic investments, especially those scenes of education that help us account for the legacy of progressive humanist literacy and its role in providing social mobility through reading the literatures of the past.