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Thinking with Shakespeare

Thinking with Shakespeare
Julia Reinhard Lupton
The University of Chicago Press, 2011
PR2976.L826 2011

What is a person? What company do people keep with animals, plants and things? What are their rights? To whom are they obligated? Such questions–bearing fundamentally on the shared meaning of politics and life–animate Shakespearean drama. Yet, as Julia Reinhard Lupton demonstrates with Thinking with Shakespeare, the urgency of these questions has been obscured by historicist approaches to literature.

In this arresting book, Lupton uses scenarios, subjectives, and themes from Shakespeare to gently dislodge his plays freom their historical confines in order to pursue their universal implications. From Petruchio's animals and Kate's laundry to Hamlet's friends and Caliban's childhood, Lupton restages thinking in Shakespeare as an embodied act of consent, cure and care by describing the way these scenes of politics and life enlist social roles, require an audience, summon a space for acknowledgement, and court the hazards of live action. Rather than putting the plays in service of an ideological program, Thinking with Shakespeare encourages readers to ponder matters of shared concern with the playwright by their side. In a landscape populated with she-doctors, minor monsters, bankrupted hosts, and faithful cupbearers, Lupton demonstrates how Shakespeare tests what it means to consider our humanity fully. With Hannah Arendt by her side, Lupton reads Shakespeare for fresh insights into everything from housekeeping and animal husbandry to biopower and political theology.

A powerful, original book that will change the tone of Shakespearean scholarship, Thinking with Shakespeare reaffirms the playwright as our contemporary in questions of life and living.

Quoted from dustjacket.