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Shakespeare and Impure Aesthetics

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About the Authors
  • Shakespeare and Impure Aesthetics explores ideas about art implicit in Shakespeare's plays and defines specific Shakespearean aesthetic practices in his use of desire, death and mourning as resources for art. Hugh Grady draws on a tradition of aesthetic theorists who understand art as always formed in a specific historical moment but as also distanced from its context through its form and Utopian projections. Grady sees A Midsummer Night's Dream, Timon of Athens, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet as displaying these qualities, showing aesthetic theory's usefulness for close readings of the plays. The book argues that such social-minded 'impure aesthetics' can revitalize the political impulses of the new historicism while opening up a new aesthetic dimension in the current discussion of Shakespeare.

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Grady offers a timely corrective to those who continue to view the aesthetic as an outmoded and idealized category – a straw target that was ritually bowled over in the first wave of cultural theory. Instead, he offers ‘impure aesthetics’ as a ‘place-holder’ for that which is ‘repressed elsewhere in the system’. In the process he repositions the aesthetic as a dynamic and critical concept – one that post-dates Shakespeare’s plays but continues to prove crucially informative in our reinterpretation of the playwright’s work."
    -Professor John J. Joughin, University of Central Lancashire

    "...Grady continues his important project of investigating the formation of modern subjectivity in Shakespeare. This time it is in relation to aesthetics - a subject...Recommended"
    -A.DiMatteo, New York Institute of Technology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2009
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9780511601576
    • availability: Adobe Reader ebooks available from eBooks.com
  • Table of Contents

    Acknowledgements
    1. Introduction: impure aesthetics
    Part I. A Shakespearean Aesthetic: Into the Woods outside Athens:
    2. A Midsummer Night's Dream - eros and the aesthetic
    3. Modernity, usury, and art in Timon of Athens
    Part II. The Aesthetics of Death and Mourning:
    4. Hamlet as mourning play
    5. Beautiful death in Romeo and Juliet
    Conclusion: the critical present
    Bibliography
    Index.

  • Author

    Hugh Grady, Arcadia University, Pennsylvania

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