Thursday, February 29, 2024

Rose on Property in the Merchant of Venice

Carol M. Rose, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, has posted Property and Literature: the View From Shakespeare’s Venice, which is forthcoming in The Elgar Concise Encyclopedia of Law and Literature, ed. Robert Spoo and Simon Stern (2024).

Merchant of Venice (1955) (NYPL)
This entry explores property issues in The Merchant of Venice, and in particular the Merchant’s posture toward important claims that have been made for property since the Enlightenment: that secure property enhances social wealth, that property protects individual autonomy, and that property permits the projection of personal projects in the world. The conclusion is that Merchant critiques each from the perspective of considerably older views of the role of property in society. The entry also discusses another claim for property and commerce that some have found in Merchant—that property and commerce soften manners and promote cooperation--but concludes that Merchant does not address that claim despite its setting in the then highly commercial city of Venice.
--Dan Ernst