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Shakespeare's Freedom (Rice University Campbell Lectures)


Shakespeare's Freedom (Rice University Campbell Lectures) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Shakespeare lived in a world of absolutes—of claims for the absolute authority of scripture, monarch, and God, and the authority of fathers over wives and children, the old over the young, and the gentle over the baseborn. With the elegance and verve for which he is well known, Stephen Greenblatt, author of the best-selling Will in the World, shows that Shakespeare was strikingly averse to such absolutes and constantly probed the possibility of freedom from them. Again and again, Shakespeare confounds the designs and pretensions of kings, generals, and churchmen. His aversion to absolutes even leads him to probe the exalted and seemingly limitless passions of his lovers.

Greenblatt explores this rich theme by addressing four of Shakespeares preoccupations across all the genres in which he worked. He first considers the idea of beauty in Shakespeares works, specifically his challenge to the cult of featureless perfection and his interest in distinguishing marks. He then turns to Shakespeares interest in murderous hatred, most famously embodied in Shylock but seen also in the character Bernardine in Measure for Measure. Next Greenblatt considers the idea of Shakespearean authority—that is, Shakespeares deep sense of the ethical ambiguity of power, including his own. Ultimately, Greenblatt takes up Shakespearean autonomy, in particular the freedom of artists, guided by distinctive forms of perception, to live by their own laws and to claim that their creations are singularly unconstrained.

A book that could only have been written by Stephen Greenblatt, Shakespeares Freedom is a wholly original and eloquent meditation by the most acclaimed and influential Shakespearean of our time.

About the Author

Stephen Greenblatt is the John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. He is the author of Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare; Hamlet in Purgatory; and the groundbreaking Renaissance Self–Fashioning, the latter book published by the University of Chicago Press.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations  Acknowledgments

1 :: Absolute Limits

2 :: Shakespearean Beauty Marks

3 :: The Limits of Hatred

4 :: Shakespeare and the Ethics of Authority

5 :: Shakespearean Autonomy

Notes  Index

Product Details

Greenblatt, Stephen J.
University of Chicago Press
Greenblatt, Stephen
Greenblatt, Stephen J.
Literary Criticism : General
Edition Description:
The Rice University Campbell Lectures
Publication Date:
8.5 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

» Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Shakespeare » Criticism
» Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Shakespeare » Plays
» Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Shakespeare » Works
» Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

Shakespeare's Freedom (Rice University Campbell Lectures) New Trade Paper
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Product details 168 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226306674 Reviews:
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