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Shakespeare and Renaissance Ethics


Patrick Gray, John D. Cox, Gordon Braden, Indira Ghose, Jane Kingsley-Smith, Leah Whittington, Beatrice Groves, Russell M. Hillier, Robert S. Miola, William M. Hamlin, Peter Holbrook, Peter Mack
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  • Date Published: October 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107419810

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About the Authors
  • Written by a distinguished international team of contributors, this volume explores Shakespeare's vivid depictions of moral deliberation and individual choice in light of Renaissance debates about ethics. Examining the intellectual context of Shakespeare's plays, the essays illuminate Shakespeare's engagement with the most pressing moral questions of his time, considering the competing claims of politics, Christian ethics and classical moral philosophy, as well as new perspectives on controversial topics such as conscience, prayer, revenge and suicide. Looking at Shakespeare's responses to emerging schools of thought such as Calvinism and Epicureanism, and assessing comparisons between Shakespeare and his French contemporary Montaigne, the collection addresses questions such as: when does laughter become cruel? How does style reflect moral perspective? Does shame lead to self-awareness? This book is of great interest to scholars and students of Shakespeare studies, Renaissance studies and the history of ethics.

    • Provides an accessible and wide-ranging introduction to ethics in the Renaissance and explains its relevance to Shakespeare studies
    • Explores Shakespeare's engagement with Renaissance and Reformation debates about ethics
    • Examines the connections between Shakespeare and his French contemporary, Montaigne
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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107419810
    • length: 319 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: rethinking Shakespeare and ethics Patrick Gray and John D. Cox
    Part I. Shakespeare and Classical Ethics:
    1. Fame, eternity, and Shakespeare's Romans Gordon Braden
    2. Shakespeare and the ethics of laughter Indira Ghose
    3. Aristotelian shame and Christian mortification in Love's Labour's Lost Jane Kingsley-Smith
    4. Shakespeare's Vergil: empathy and The Tempest Leah Whittington
    Part II. Shakespeare and Christian Ethics:
    5. Shakespeare's prayers John D. Cox
    6. The morality of milk: Shakespeare and the ethics of nursing Beatrice Groves
    7. Hamlet the rough-hewer: moral agency and the consolations of Reformation thought Russell M. Hillier
    8. 'Wrying but a little'? Marriage, punishment, and forgiveness in Cymbeline Robert S. Miola
    Part III. Shakespeare and the Ethical Thinking of Montaigne:
    9. 'Hide thy selfe': Montaigne, Hamlet, and Epicurean ethics Patrick Gray
    10. Conscience and the god-surrogate in Montaigne and Measure for Measure William M. Hamlin
    11. Shakespeare, Montaigne, and classical reason Peter Holbrook
    12. Madness, proverbial wisdom, and philosophy in King Lear Peter Mack.

  • Editors

    Patrick Gray, University of Durham
    Patrick Gray is Lecturer in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in the Department of English Studies at the University of Durham. He has taught Shakespeare, classics, and comparative literature at Deep Springs College, Providence College, Rhode Island, and the United States Military Academy at West Point. His research interests include shame, guilt, the ethics of recognition (Anerkennung), and the reception of the classics in the Renaissance.

    John D. Cox, Hope College, Michigan
    John D. Cox is DuMez Professor of English at Hope College, Michigan. He is the author of many articles and books including The Devil and the Sacred in English Drama, 1350–1642 (Cambridge, 2000), the co-editor of A New History of Early English Drama (1997) and the third Arden 3 Henry VI (2001), and the editor of Julius Caesar: A Broadview Internet Shakespeare Edition (2012).


    Patrick Gray, John D. Cox, Gordon Braden, Indira Ghose, Jane Kingsley-Smith, Leah Whittington, Beatrice Groves, Russell M. Hillier, Robert S. Miola, William M. Hamlin, Peter Holbrook, Peter Mack

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