Kevin A. Quarmby deposited ‘Bardwashing’ Shakespeare: Food Justice, Enclosure, and the Poaching Poet on Humanities Commons 3 years, 12 months ago
In As You Like It, Shakespeare glorifies the social bandits that survive in the Forest of Arden, likening them to Robin Hood outlaws. Near-contemporary pseudo-biographies also record Shakespeare’s early life as a poacher and youthful renegade. Shakespeare’s play might suggest his advocacy of food sovereignty and social justice, a romanticized image is supported by later historiographies. Surprisingly, however, Shakespeare’s true personality as shrewd, ruthless, opportunistic, land-grabbing, businessman benefits from the “Bardwashing” of later commentators. This paper interrogates the populist iconography of Shakespeare, and questions his reinvention as a local celebrity and Robin Hood eco-champion, rather than aggressive capitalist exploiting the food justice rights of his hometown community.