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Shakespearean Arrivals
The Birth of Character


  • Date Published: June 2022
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108433822

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About the Authors
  • In this distinctive study, Nicholas Luke explores the abiding power of Shakespeare's tragedies by suggesting an innovative new model of his character creation. Rather than treating characters as presupposed beings, Luke shows how they arrive as something more than functional dramatis personae - how they come to life as 'subjects' - through Shakespeare's orchestration of transformational dramatic events. Moving beyond dominant critical modes, Luke combines compelling close readings of Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear with an accessible analysis of thinkers such as Badiou, Žižek, Bergson, Whitehead and Latour, and the 'adventist' Christian tradition flowing from Saint Paul through Luther to Kierkegard. Representing a significant intervention into the way we encounter Shakespeare's tragic figures, the book argues for a subjectivity which is not singular or abiding, but perilous and leaping.

    • Proposes a new model of Shakespeare's tragic character
    • Engages critically and creatively with both contemporary and early modern notions of the self
    • Presents a close and original reading of Shakespeare's major tragedies (Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear)
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The book is at its best, its most exciting and enjoyable, when focused on the texts at hand, which Luke makes new. There is a great deal to value here, especially for those who are looking for a philosophical and theoretical consideration of character as exemplified by Shakespearean tragedy. Shakespearean Arrivals is sure to excite debate and to force a reconsideration of character as dynamic and multiple, shifting and changing, and, hence, new.' Cristina León Alfar, Renaissance Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2022
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108433822
    • length: 260 pages
    • dimensions: 218 x 150 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Thinking arrivals: rupture, event, subject
    2. The subject of love in Romeo and Juliet
    3. Love's late arrival: wonder and terror in Othello's 'High-Wrought Flood'
    4. The ghostly event(s) of Hamlet
    5. Macbeth: the arrival of evil
    6. The Cordelia event: seizing the vanished in King Lear

  • Author

    Nicholas Luke, University of Queensland
    Nicholas Luke is an Australian Rhodes Scholar with degrees in Law and the Arts. He is a Research Fellow at the University of Queensland Node of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (Europe, 1100–1800).

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