My kind of theorist

By: Joshua Glenn
January 2, 2023

On December 30, Routledge published Fascinating Rhythms: Shakespeare, Theory, Culture, and the Legacy of Terence Hawkes (ed. John Drakakis). Malcolm Evans, a former student of Hawkes — whose Structuralism and Semiotics, published in 1977 as the first volume in Hawkes’s New Accents series, helped make critical theory accessible to the English-speaking world — contributes the final essay.

Malcolm was kind enough to quote me on the topic of Structuralism and Semiotics, as follows:

Hawkes’ book is helpful in letting you know what it should feel like to do this work — the necessary alienation from the grip of the quotidian, the sense of ‘x-ray’ vision into the invisible web of relations in which all apparently independently existing objects exist (and which helps constitute those objects). The imperative is to get your hands dirty and struggle with the model, and the importance of recognizing that whatever you come up with is at best temporary and tentative. The sense that it’s both a science and an art. […] He inveighs against “mystifying theoretical jargon” in his 2003 afterword to the book. My kind of theorist.

Though we never met, Hawkes was an important influence on me; I’m grateful to be included if even for a single paragraph.


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