Shakespeare's Hamlet and the Controversies of Self

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9780198185048: Shakespeare's Hamlet and the Controversies of Self

This book offers a new approach to the discussion of English Renaissance literary subjectivity. Dissatisfied with much New Historicist and Cultural Materialistic criticism, it attempts to trace the history of the controversies of self. William Hazlitt emerges as a pioneering figure in a tradition of literary criticism which this book tries to advance. Drawing on the personal construct theory of George A. Kelly, and on the moral theory of Alasdair MacIntyre, the textual ways are traced by which "That within" Hamlet is constructed. In an argument that challenges some of the founding propositions of New Historicist and Cultural Materialist practice, the Prince is seen to have a self-constituting, as opposed to a self-fashioning, sense of self. This sense of self is neither essentialist nor transhistorical; using the work of Charles Taylor, the play is seen to be exploring a Montaignesque, as opposed to Cartesian, notion of subjectivity. The controversies of self are, in fact, an issue within Shakespeare's play; and if the notion of Folio and Quarto Princes is allowed, it may even be at issue within the play. Hamlet debates our debate.

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About the Author:


John Lee is Lecturer in English, University of Bristol

Review:


"John Lee provides a fascinating, sometimes furious, sometimes funny account of recent academic battles over the bard.... Lee's pen is as sharp as his mind and he almost revives some of the old battles as he tells his story. At the same time, by focusing on the battles over one play, Hamlet, Lee burrows deeper and deeper into the reasons Shakespeare matters."--The Providence Journal


"Lee's artfully constructed book is valuable for its account of the history and development of early and contemporary criticism, but is also has many penetrating comments on [Hamlet], going to the heart of some of its most irresolvable problems."--Times Literary Supplement


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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2000. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.This book offers a new approach to the discussion of English Renaissance literary subjectivity. Dissatisfied with much New Historicist and Cultural Materialistic criticism, it attempts to trace the history of the controversies of self. William Hazlitt emerges as a pioneering figure in a tradition of literary criticism which this book tries to advance. Drawing on the personal construct theory of George A. Kelly, and on the moral theory of Alasdair MacIntyre, the textual ways are traced by which That within Hamlet is constructed. In an argument that challenges some of the founding propositions of New Historicist and Cultural Materialist practice, the Prince is seen to have a self-constituting, as opposed to a self-fashioning, sense of self. This sense of self is neither essentialist nor transhistorical; using the work of Charles Taylor , the play is seen to be exploring a Montaignesque, as opposed to Cartesian, notion of subjectivity. The controversies of self are, in fact, an issue within Shakespeare s play; and if the notion of Folio and Quarto Princes is allowed, it may even be at issue within the play. Hamlet debates our debate. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780198185048

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