Shakespeare continues to articulate the central problems of our intellectual inheritance. The plays of a Renaissance playwright still seem to be fundamental to our understanding and experience of modernity. Key philosophical questions concerning value, meaning and justice continue to resonate in Shakespeare's work.
In the course of rethinking these issues, Philosophical Shakespeares focuses on and encourages the growing dissolution of boundaries between literature and philosophy.
Philosophical Shakespeares includes contributions from the first rank of contemporary criticism, drawing together original and previously unpublished essays by leading European and US scholars. The approach throughout is interdisciplinary and ranges from problem-centered readings of particular plays to more general elaborations on the significance of Shakespeare in relation to individual thinkers or philosophical traditions.
Since both critical theory and Shakespeare are core elements of most graduate English programs, a new series of books focusing on critical theories on the Bard himself and his works can only be welcome. Routledge has launched its "Accents on Shakespeare" series with six titles and the promise of more to come. Each title takes a critical theory and applies it to some aspect of Shakespeare--such as the plays, themes in his work, or the effect of the theory on a reading. Each volume reviewed here begins with an introduction or foreword that frames the critical theory in question and sets the stage for the essays to follow. In seven essays, Philosophical Shakespeares explores such topics as value and meaning and the application of various philosophical schools to Shakespeare. In ten essays, Shakespeare and Modernity looks at identity and self, the rise of nationhood, the start of colonialism in the Western world, and other similar topics. In twelve essays, Marxist Shakespeares ponders such themes as the idea of social class in the plays and the effects of literature on nationalism. The contributors are professors in a range of subject areas, most of whom have previously published works on Shakespeare. Articulate, challenging, and enlightening, this unique, theory-based set of books is recommended for academic libraries.--Neal Wyatt, Chesterfield P.L., VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.