Shakespeare and philosophy
May 5, 2008 6:38 PM Subscribe
posted by painquale (17 comments total)
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Martha Nussbaum reviews
three recent books on Shakespeare and philosophy. The essay offers an excellent analysis of love in Antony and Cleopatra
, and an excellent discussion of the interaction between philosophy and literature.
From the essay: "To make any contribution worth caring about, a philosopher's study of Shakespeare should do three things. First and most centrally, it should really do philosophy, and not just allude to familiar philosophical ideas and positions. It should pursue tough questions and come up with something interesting and subtle--rather than just connecting Shakespeare to this or that idea from Philosophy 101. A philosopher reading Shakespeare should wonder, and ponder, in a genuinely philosophical way. Second, it should illuminate the world of the plays, attending closely enough to language and to texture that the interpretation changes the way we see the work, rather than just uses the work as grist for some argumentative mill. And finally, such a study should offer some account of why philosophical thinking needs to turn to Shakespeare's plays, or to works like them. Why must the philosopher care about these plays? Do they supply to thought something that a straightforward piece of philosophical prose cannot supply, and if so, what?"
There is some discussion of the piece here