From 1595-1600 Shakespeare dissected the workings of political power in the four histories of the Henriad and in Hamlet in ways which were remarkably parallel - and were perhaps influenced by - the ideas of the father of modern political analysis, Niccolo Machiavelli. However, the very same plays simultaneously explored the dynamics of self- and identity-formation under new conditions of secular modernity, in the process producing such memorable characters as Richard II, Prince Hal, Falstaff, and Hamlet. Hugh Grady argues that in analyzing modern subjectivity, Shakespeare re-produced not the ideas of Machiavelli, but those of Michel de Montaigne, that Renaissance definer of shifting identities and subjectivities and of complexly formed, sceptical knowledge. In so doing, Shakespeare in effect contributes to the theoretical debates over power and subjectivity in literary and cultural studies at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
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(223mm x 146mm x 23mm)
Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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