Shakespeare and Early Modern Political Thought by David ArmitageShakespeare and Early Modern Political Thought by David Armitage

Shakespeare and Early Modern Political Thought

EditorDavid Armitage, Conal Condren, Andrew Fitzmaurice

Hardcover | October 12, 2009

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This is the first collaborative volume to place Shakespeare's works within the landscape of early modern political thought. Until recently, literary scholars have not generally treated Shakespeare as a participant in the political thought of his time, unlike his contemporaries Ben Jonson, Edmund Spenser and Philip Sidney. At the same time, historians of political thought have rarely turned their attention to major works of poetry and drama. A distinguished international and interdisciplinary team of contributors examines the full range of Shakespeare's writings in order to challenge conventional interpretations of plays central to the canon, such as Hamlet; open up novel perspectives on works rarely considered to be political, such as the Sonnets; and focus on those that have been largely neglected, such as The Merry Wives of Windsor. The result is a coherent and challenging portrait of Shakespeare's distinctive engagement with the characteristic questions of early modern political thought.
Title:Shakespeare and Early Modern Political ThoughtFormat:HardcoverDimensions:302 pages, 8.98 × 5.98 × 0.79 inPublished:October 12, 2009Publisher:Cambridge University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:052176808X

ISBN - 13:9780521768085

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Table of Contents

Introduction David Armitage, Conal Condren and Andrew Fitzmaurice; Part I. Contexts: 1. Shakespeare's properties David Armitage; 2. The active and contemplative lives in Shakespeare's plays Cathy Curtis; 3. Shakespeare and the ethics of authority Stephen Greenblatt; 4. Shakespeare and the politics of superstition Susan James; Part II. The Court: 5. Counsel, succession and the politics of Shakespeare's Sonnets Cathy Shrank; 6. Educating Hamlet and Prince Hal Aysha Pollnitz; 7. The corruption of Hamlet Andrew Fitzmaurice; 8. Unfolding 'the properties of government': the case of Measure for Measure and the history of political thought Conal Condren; 9. Shakespeare and the politics of co-authorship: Henry VIII Jennifer Richards; Part III. The Commonwealth: 10. Putting the city into Shakespeare's city comedy Phil Withington; 11. Talking to the animals: persuasion, counsel and their discontents in Julius Caesar David Colclough; 12. Political rhetoric and citizenship in Coriolanus Markku Peltonen; 13. Shakespeare and the best state of a commonwealth Eric Nelson; Afterword: Shakespeare and humanist culture Quentin Skinner.

Editorial Reviews

"This volume is one of the most important new studies of Shakespeare to have appeared this century. It takes the discussion of Shakespeare and early modern political thought to a hitherto unseen level of sophistication. For the first time, we are offered a serious and sustained reading of Shakespeare in the light of the "Cambridge school" of work on the language of political theory that is associated above all with Quentin Skinner, who provides a magisterial afterword. What is remarkable about the collection is the way in which its contributors come from diverse perspectives -- here we have distinguished philosophers and historians of ideas as well as the distinctive voice of Stephen Greenblatt -- and yet they create a strikingly unified image of a Shakespeare who is at once a deep political thinker, a consummate master of rhetoric and a wily refusenik when it comes to orthodox positions. With great originality, the contributors show that even a work as apparently slight as The Merry Wives of Windsor has a powerful political dimension. This is a book that deserves a prominent place on the bookshelf of anyone interested in Shakespeare -- more than that, of anyone interested in the interplay between literature and the history of political thought. Jonathan Bate, Professor of Shakespeare & Renaissance Literature, University of Warwick