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Shakespearean Romanticism and Curricular Genderpellation in Canadian Popular Culture


  • Mark A. McCutcheon University of Western Ontario


This essay investigates the Romantic effects of Shakespearean "touchstones" in popular cultural representations of Canadian curriculum to interpellate girls in the contested institutional space of public education. The essay's genealogy of Shakespeare and gender-curricular politics opens with Lucy Maude Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables, a popular literary text published shortly after the Victorian-imperial institution of public education. The argument juxtaposes Montgomery's pedagogical and prescriptive adaptation of Shakespeare with Skye Sweetnam's "Billy S.," a 2004 popular song that articulates a rebellious appeal to the imagination, not unlike Anne's own. The paper concludes with questions about how these uses of Shakespeare in popular representations of school and Romantic ideology produce a gender-coded literary curriculum, and students, in English Canadian public education.

Author Biography

Mark A. McCutcheon, University of Western Ontario

Mark A. McCutcheon researches Romantic contexts of popular culture, with publications on this area in Popular Music (2007), Texas Studies in Literature and Language (2004), and Nineteenth Century Prose (2009). He has published on Canadian popular culture in Canadian Theatre Review (2002) and University of Toronto Quarterly (forthcoming). He has taught at universities in Canada and Germany and for 2008-10 is a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at the University of Western Ontario, pursuing a project on Canadian Frankensteins.