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Shakespeare's Individualism

$49.99 (C)

  • Date Published: September 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107630673

$ 49.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • Holbrook presents an engaging and stimulating argument as to why Shakespeare is so relevant for people today
    • Avoids specialist language and jargon in addressing important general 'life issues' such as being oneself and individual choice
    • Discusses many Shakespeare plays and poems in detail to investigate the theme of individual will
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Peter Holbrook, in his weighty but succinct and eloquent book, challenges both aspects of this conservative narrative. He trawls through Shakespeare's works to find emphatically that assertions of selfhood, freedom and individualism are not exceptions in the plays and Sonnets, but so frequently expressed as to be the norm, and that in this sense it was Shakespeare who inaugurated and sanctioned libertarianism in Western philosophy and culture.
    R.S. White, English and Cultural Studies at The University of western Australia

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107630673
    • length: 260 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Shakespeare, Hamlet, Selfhood:
    1. Hamlet and failure
    2. 'A 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: Gide
    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
    Conclusion: Shakespeare's 'beauteous freedom'.

  • Author

    Peter Holbrook, University of Queensland
    Peter Holbrook teaches English Literature at the University of Queensland.

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