Shakespeares Hamlet and the Controversies of Self

Hardcover | October 15, 2000

byJohn Lee

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This book offers a new approach to the discussion of English Renaissance literary subjectivity. Dissatisfied with much New Historicist and Cultural Materialistic criticism, it attempts to trace the history of the controversies of self. William Hazlitt emerges as a pioneering figure in atradition of literary criticism which this book tries to advance. Drawing on the personal construct theory of George A. Kelly, and on the moral theory of Alasdair MacIntyre, the textual ways are traced by which 'That within' Hamlet is constructed. In an argument that challenges some of the foundingpropositions of New Historicist and Cultural Materialist practice, the Prince is seen to have a self-constituting, as opposed to a self-fashioning, sense of self. This sense of self is neither essentialist nor transhistorical; using the work of Charles Taylor , the play is seen to be exploring aMontaignesque, as opposed to Cartesian, notion of subjectivity. The controversies of self are, in fact, an issue within Shakespeare's play; and if the notion of Folio and Quarto Princes is allowed, it may even be at issue within the play. Hamlet debates our debate.

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This book offers a new approach to the discussion of English Renaissance literary subjectivity. Dissatisfied with much New Historicist and Cultural Materialistic criticism, it attempts to trace the history of the controversies of self. William Hazlitt emerges as a pioneering figure in atradition of literary criticism which this book tr...

John Lee is Lecturer in English, University of Bristol

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:278 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.75 inPublished:October 15, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198185049

ISBN - 13:9780198185048

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Table of Contents

Introduction12. Fear and Wonder3. Something More than Fantasy4. Fools of Nature5. A Wave o' th' Sea6. My Tables, My Tables7. A King of Infinite Space8. The Princes HamletBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`carefully argued ... Lee's artfully constructed book is valuable for its account of the history and development of early and contemporary criticism, but it also has many penetrating comments on the play, going to the heart of some of its most irresolvable problems. If the Hamlet who emergesis a relatively familiar one, the processes which allow him to emerge in this way are meticulously and acutely examined.' H.R. Woudhuysen, TLS 12.01.01.