Michael L. Hays

Written by Michael L. Hays

Michael L. Hays is formerly an independent consultant in defense, energy, and environment; a full- or part-time teacher for the past forty-five years under diverse auspices; a civic activist for public education as a columnist and blogger; and a retired independent scholar with his doctorate in English, specializing in Shakespeare.

HomeArticles Posted by Michael L. Hays

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Polonius commends a visiting troupe of players as “The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, [tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral,]” (II,ii,396-99).[1]  We chuckle at his list of diverse genres and absurd hybrids.  We do not consider that what actors acted playwrights wrote or question whether Shakespeare wrote hybrid plays.  We should.  Hybrid plays were a commonplace…

To see the world in a grain of sand is, in editing Shakespeare, to inspect the implications of different pronouns at III, iii, 96-7 (TLN 1696-7), in the two earliest texts of Othello: “Did Michael Cassio / When [someone] woo’d my Lady, know of your love?”[1] The 1622 quarto reads “you”; the 1623 folio reads “he.”[2]  What is unusual about…

The spring 2016 issue of Shakespeare Quarterly (67.1) updates the state of early modern race study in Shakespeare.  Guest editors Peter Erickson (Northwestern) and Kim F. Hall (Barnard), chairs of the 2015 Shakespeare Association of America seminar “Early Modern Race/Ethnic/Diaspora Studies,” introduce the issue with an overview of the field, its goals, and an agenda of “concerns” (5) for future…

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The study of sources and influences suffers a bad reputation in Shakespearean scholarship, for the most part, deservedly so.  Earlier generations of scholars too much entangled themselves in the literary genetics of Shakespeare’s plays or enraptured themselves in contemplating the creative impulses of the great bard’s mind.  They too little engaged in interpreting his plays.  Nevertheless, the repudiation of misdirected…

Shakespeare after Theory. David Scott Kastan. New York: Routledge, 1999.
 
Theory is dead—if the title is the message of David Scott Kastan, English professor at Columbia University, distinguished critic and editor, anthologizer of contemporary criticism, and prominent proponent and practitioner of New Historicism. If so, this twenty-odd-year-old orthodoxy, which claims theory as its major achievement, is also dead, or so Kastan seems…

Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography: The Epitome of Anti-Stratfordian Scholarship. Diana Price. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2000.
 
1: Overview
I do not care who wrote the plays conventionally attributed, in part or in whole, to William Shakespeare of Stratford and of London.  For me, the play’s the thing.  Yet I have read a few orthodox biographies; a few unorthodox biographies, including both editions (2001, 2012)…

Questions about the Question
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To my students who asked me whether Shakespeare wrote the plays attributed to him, I answered, no: they were written by another man with the same name.  To the public who ask this question, anti-Stratfordians answer, no: they were written by another man who used his name to conceal his own identity.  My quip is their quest.
The…

After retiring early from my career as an independent consultant and returning to a career as an independent scholar, I have frequently reflected on my experience and the experience of others like me who, as English Ph.D.’s, failed to get tenure-track or tenured positions in the 1970s.  However, I have mostly focused on the causes—circumstances and conditions—of that experience, and…