Seminar :" Money matters: Art, Exchange and the Market place in Shakespeare in Love" by Prof. Sudha Shastri

Seminar :" Money matters: Art, Exchange and the Market place in Shakespeare in Love" by Prof. Sudha Shastri , IIT Bombay


             In Shakespearean Negotiations (1988), Stephen Greenblatt hopes to provide "insight into the half-hidden cultural transactions through which great works of art are empowered", and the "circulation of social energy" in the production of a literary text. John Madden's film Shakespeare in Love (1998) premises itself on this position by denying that "originary moment" to a play, in its envisaging of the creation of Romeo and Juliet. My paper will focus on some of the exchanges that Shakespeare in Love sees as integral in the production of this play. In its projection of dramatic composition as conditioned by not just the artist but also by the various social, political, and economic exchanges of the time, Shakespeare in Love closely adheres to the pattern of artistic production outlined by New Historicism. The film constantly negotiates borders: whether between originality and borrowing, text and life, or emotion and commerce.

In particular, my paper will raise questions on the uses of formula, revision and “contingency” in the execution of a work of art, and the ‘contribution’ of Christopher Marlowe (sic) to William Shakespeare's reputation as the greatest playwright of all time.


For invitees who have not watched the film Shakespeare in Love, here is an introduction, though no substitute for the film itself.

William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is on a cold streak. Not only is he writing for Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush), owner of ‘The Rose’, a theatre whose doors are about to be closed by sadistic creditors, but he's got a nasty case of writer's block. Shakespeare hasn't written a hit in years. In fact, he hasn't written much of anything recently. Thus, the Bard finds himself in quite a bind when Henslowe, desperate to stave off another round of hot-coals-to-feet application, stakes ‘The Rose’'s solvency on Shakespeare's new comedy, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter."


"Shakespeare in Love wins 7 Oscars

In a night of surprises and upsets, the romantic comedy Shakespeare in Love won seven Academy Awards on Sunday, including best picture, best actress for Gwyneth Paltrow, and best supporting actress for Judi Dench. Steven Spielberg's bloody World War II epic Saving Private Ryan won the prize for directing and four other Oscars"

A modified version of the screenplay, here:


Sudha Shastri teaches English Literature at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Bombay  

Event Date: 
Monday, 12 November 2018 - 3:30pm
Seminar Hall, Department of HSS
IIT Bombay, Powai, Mumbai