The essay deals with the city of Verona as a deeply Shakespeare-related urban setting for cultural and tourist industry. Taking Montague at his word, Verona has been turned into the city of Juliet and while Romeo has been somehow left behind, the Shakespearean heroine has slowly been implanted not only in the city’s traditional spaces of the house and the tomb, which civic authorities subjected to a targeted makeover in the 1930s, but also in modern cultural practices and discourses. Dysneyland-like and hyperreal, although not avowedly fake, these ‘Juliet spaces’ are “replete with signs of remains deprived of an original referent”; they signify her myth of sacrificed faithfulness, but controversially occult the power discourses that traversed her story. Juliet is not only the titular owner of a house and a tomb, but also presides over mediaeval festivals, marathons, and civic awards as the tutelary deity of a whole town. Besides, tons of letters are famously written to her from people all over the world who have turned her into the icon of starry-eyed passion. Nonetheless, the essay suggests that this cultural and discursive arrangement ultimately seems to constrain Juliet and her story into a stilted, if golden, civic model of (feminine) love and sacrifice, producing discursive and social practices that encase a hyperreal (R&)Jspace within the larger city.
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