Shakespeare's Individualism

Shakespeare's Individualism

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Peter Holbrook
Cambridge University Press, 1/21/2010
EAN 9780521760676, ISBN10: 0521760674

Hardcover, 260 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.9 cm
Language: English

Providing a provocative and original perspective on Shakespeare, Peter Holbrook argues that Shakespeare is an author friendly to such essentially modern and unruly notions as individuality, freedom, self-realization and authenticity. These expressive values vivify Shakespeare's own writing; they also form a continuous, and a central, part of the Shakespearean tradition. Engaging with the theme of the individual will in specific plays and poems, and examining a range of libertarian-minded scholarly and literary responses to Shakespeare over time, Shakespeare's Individualism advances the proposition that one of the key reasons for reading Shakespeare today is his commitment to individual liberty - even as we recognize that freedom is not just an indispensable ideal but also, potentially, a dangerous one. Engagingly written and jargon free, this book demonstrates that Shakespeare has important things to say about fundamental issues of human existence.

Part I. Shakespeare, Hamlet, Selfhood
1. Hamlet and failure
2. 'A room...at the back of the shop'
3. Egyptianism (our fascist future)
4. 'Become who you are!'
5. Hamlet and self-love
6. 'To thine own self be true'
7. Listening to ghosts
8. Shakespeare's self
Part II. Shakespeare and Evil
9. 'Old lad, I am thine own'
authenticity and Titus Andronicus
10. Evil and self-creation
11. Libertarian Shakespeare
Mill, Bradley
12. Shakespearean immoral individualism
13. Strange Shakespeare
Symons and others
14. Eliot's rejection of Shakespeare
15. Shakespearean immoralism
Antony and Cleopatra
16. Making oneself known
Montaigne and the Sonnets
Part III. Shakespeare and Self-Government
17. Freedom and self-government
The Tempest
18. Calibanism
Shakespeare's 'beauteous freedom'.

'This is a free-spirited book - and in this sense, it practises the individualism that it preaches - in its inventive interweaving of its discussion of Shakespeare with numerous exponents and inflectors of liberal/individualist thought, including Montaigne, Blake, Coleridge, William Hazlitt, Frederick James Furnivall, John Stuart Mill, A. C. Bradley, André Gide, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. One of the undoubted strengths of this approach is the way it enables Holbrook to embark on a number of different excursions into his topic, with each one frequently adding a fresh angle, implication, or alignment.' Cahiers Élisabéthains