As I complete my three-year stint of reading and reviewing Shakespeare criticism, and as part of my annual general reflections, I want to acknowledge the invisible support which makes this article possible. I think I can speak for the other reviewers in saying how chastening it is to realize just how much Shakespearians depend upon the judgements in this section to keep abreast of what’s going on, especially in places where access to books and periodicals is limited. The brute fact of wealth is repeatedly brought home to us, by which I mean not merely access but the freedom which comes with time, Pascal’s sitting quietly in a room – time to read, to write, to think. Universities which appreciate, and subsidize, scholarship – and not all of them do – underwrite our writing, and not crudely as one component in our terms and conditions. Subsidy of journal publication through university presses, and university departments, enhances our conversation. It isn’t all good news, however, and I have previously signalled the increase in what threatens to become a kind of institutional vanity publishing. Subsidy may soon be necessary for the publication of specialized monographs but it is already taken for granted with collections of conference papers or, indeed, collections of essays by individuals. For example, this year essays from the World Shakespeare Congress in Valencia and the Shakespeare in Europe meetings have begun to appear, courtesy of Ashgate’s rare willingness to make them available – as long as someone else does all the preparation. The University of Delaware’s commitment to Renaissance literature has long been exemplary and both presses have been laudably open to non-Anglo-Saxon scholars. For more miscellaneous collections, Ashgate and Boydell and Brewer may soon be the last homes of the English-language festschrift.
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