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Shakespeare's Hamlet: Philosophical Perspectives
Zamir, Tzachi. Shakespeare's Hamlet: Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. Print.Abstract
Does philosophy gain or lose when it is embedded within literature or embodied by drama? Does literary criticism gain or lose when it turns to literary works as occasions for abstract reflection? Leading literary scholars and philosophers interrogate philosophical dimensions of Shakespeare's Hamlet with these urgent questions in view.
Scholars probe Hamlet's own insights, assess the significance of philosophy's literary-dramatic framing by this play, and trace the philosophically-relevant underpinnings revealed by historical transformations in Hamlet's reception. They focus on the play's thematizations of subjectivity, knowledge, sex, grief, self-theatricalization.
Examining Shakespeare's play from a philosophical standpoint sharpens the questions the play itself so famously poses: What counts as a proper response to injustice upon realizing that whatever one does, there can be no undoing of the initial wrong? What do our commitments to the dead amount to? How to persist in infusing significance into action while grasping the degradation of death and our own replaceability? Scholars at the forefront of their fields tackle these and other questions from a wide range of viewpoints, illuminating the central concerns of one of Shakespeare's masterpieces.
Thomas Hardy's Elegiac Prose and Poetry: Codes of Bereavement
Benziman, Galia. Thomas Hardy's Elegiac Prose and Poetry: Codes of Bereavement. London: Palgrave, 2018. Print.Abstract
This book examines the transition from traditional to modern elegy through a close study of Thomas Hardy’s oeuvre and its commitment to mourning and remembrance. Hardy is usually read as an avowed elegist who writes against the collective forgetfulness typical of the late-Victorian era. But Hardy, as argued here, is dialectically implicated in the very cultural and psychological amnesia that he resists, as her book demonstrates by expanding the corpus of study beyond the spousal elegies (the “Poems of 1912-1913”) to include a wide variety of poems, novels and short stories that deal with bereavement and mourning. Locating the modern aspect of Hardy’s elegiac writing in this ambivalence and in the subversion of memory as unreliable, the book explores the textual moments at which Hardy challenges binary dichotomies such as forgetting vs. remembering, narcissism vs. unselfish commitment, grief vs. betrayal, the work of mourning vs. melancholia, presence vs. absence. The book's analysis allows us to relate Hardy’s elegiac poetics, and particularly his description of the mourner as a writer, to shifting late-Victorian conceptualizations of death, memory, art, science and gender relations.