Narcissism and Suicide and in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries

Hardcover | December 12, 2009

byEric Langley

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The subjects of this book are the subjects whose subjects are themselves.Narcissus so himself himself forsook,And died to kiss his shadow in the brook.In accusing the introspective Adonis of narcissistic self-absorption, Shakespeare's Venus employs a geminative construction - 'himself himself' - that provides a keynote for this study of Renaissance reflexive subjectivity. Through close analysis of a number of Shakespearean texts - including Venusand Adonis, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, and Othello - his book illustrates how radical self-reflection is expressed on the Renaissance page and stage, and how representations of the two seemingly extreme figures of the narcissist and self-slaughterer are indicative of early-modernattitudes to introspection. Encompassing a broad range of philosophical, theological, poetic, and dramatic texts, this study examines period descriptions of the early-modern subject characterised by the rhetoric of reciprocation and reflection. The narcissist and the self-slaughter provide models ofdialogic but self-destructive identity where private interiority is articulated in terms of self-response, but where this geminative isolation is understood as self-defeating, both selfish and suicidal. The study includes work on Renaissance revisions of Ovid, classical attitudes to suicide, therhetoric of friendship literature, discussion of early-modern optic theory, and an extended discussion of narcissism in the epyllia tradition. Sustained textual analysis offers new readings of major Shakespearean texts, allowing familiar works of literature to be seen from the unusual andanti-social perspectives of their narcissistic and suicidal protagonists.

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The subjects of this book are the subjects whose subjects are themselves.Narcissus so himself himself forsook,And died to kiss his shadow in the brook.In accusing the introspective Adonis of narcissistic self-absorption, Shakespeare's Venus employs a geminative construction - 'himself himself' - that provides a keynote for this study o...

Since receiving his doctorate from Leeds University in 2003, Eric Langley has worked as a Teaching Fellow, lecturing on Shakespearean and Renaissance literature at a number of the UK's leading English departments, including York, St. Andrews, and Sheffield. Previous publications include work on Renaissance visual theory, Shakespearean...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.1 inPublished:December 12, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019954123X

ISBN - 13:9780199541232

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart One: Narcissism1. Visions of Narcissus2. Narcissistic Vision3. From Self-Love to Self-Slaughter: Romeo and JulietPart Two: Suicide4. Romana Mors in Julius Caesar5. Romana Mors in Antony and Cleopatra6. Renaissance Attitudes to Self-SlaughterConclusion: Othello's SuicidesWorks cited