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Shakespeare and Early Modern Political Thought by David (Harvard University, Massachusetts) Armitage

Shakespeare and Early Modern Political Thought


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Shakespeare and Early Modern Political Thought by David (Harvard University, Massachusetts) Armitage

This is the first collaborative volume to place Shakespeare's works within the landscape of early modern political thought. Until recently, literary scholars have not generally treated Shakespeare as a participant in the political thought of his time, unlike his contemporaries Ben Jonson, Edmund Spenser and Philip Sidney. At the same time, historians of political thought have rarely turned their attention to major works of poetry and drama. A distinguished international and interdisciplinary team of contributors examines the full range of Shakespeare's writings in order to challenge conventional interpretations of plays central to the canon, such as Hamlet; open up novel perspectives on works rarely considered to be political, such as the Sonnets; and focus on those that have been largely neglected, such as The Merry Wives of Windsor. The result is a coherent and challenging portrait of Shakespeare's distinctive engagement with the characteristic questions of early modern political thought.


Review of the hardback: '... one of the most important new studies of Shakespeare to have appeared this century. It takes the discussion of Shakespeare and early modern political thought to a hitherto unseen level of sophistication. For the first time, we are offered a serious and sustained reading of Shakespeare in the light of the 'Cambridge school
of work on the language of political theory

... contributors come from diverse perspectives ... and yet they create a strikingly unified image of a Shakespeare who is at once a deep political thinker, a consummate master of rhetoric and a wily refusenik when it comes to orthodox positions ... deserves a prominent place on the bookshelf of anyone interested in Shakespeare - more than that, of anyone interested in the interplay between literature and the history of political thought.
Jonathan Bate, University of Warwick Review of the hardback:

'... [this] book represents a new synthesis of method and approach, and the definitive starting point for any future exploration of the 'political'

Ian Donaldson, University of Melbourne

About the Author

David Armitage is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History at Harvard University. Conal Condren is a Scientia Professor Emeritus at the University of New South Wales and an Honorary Professor at the Centre for the History of European Discourses, University of Queensland. Andrew Fitzmaurice is Associate Professor of History at the University of Sydney.

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Book Info

Publication date

26th July 2012


David (Harvard University, Massachusetts) Armitage

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Cambridge University Press


304 pages


Literary studies: general



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