A Literary And Historical Standpoint

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Although it is practical from a literary and historical standpoint, object-driven analyses of Shakespeare’s First Folio fail to account for, as Brown says, “the story of the object asserting itself as a thing.” By treating the First Folio as only a book meant to be read for information these analyses let it stagnate in a subject-object binary which leads us to falsely believe that the subject creates knowledge from the object. Or as Brown says, we are stuck viewing the object as a “code by which our interpretive attention makes them meaningful” (Brown 4). This line of thinking is problematic because the object then lacks agency. When the object transitions to a thing, the binary no longer applies and we can see that it has knowledge with or without a subject involved. Additionally, this shift out of the binary allows for the thing to become its own subject. If, as Baudrillard believes “it is the subject that totalizes the world” (qtd in Brown) then this implies that the thing is not merely passively impacted by the world but actively impacts the world with its presence. However, only viewing the First Folio as a thing in opposition to an object also limits our study of it. Instead, I propose that we should examine the story of an object becoming a thing. Before I further my argument I want to take a moment to fully examine the difference between an object and a thing and why current scholarship has failed to acknowledge the importance of the First Folio becoming a thing.
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