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Re-Humanising Shakespeare

Literary Humanism, Wisdom and Modernity

Andrew Mousley

Edition: 2

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Can Shakespeare help us with the question of how to live?

Re-Humanising Shakespeare argues that although Shakespeare strikingly dramatizes how our capacity for conscious reflection distances us from the perceived spontaneity and naturalness of the human, his plays nevertheless protect human nature and a profound wisdom about human nature from complete liquefaction.

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Part I: Denaturing Human Nature
1. Literary Humanism, Wisdom and Modernity
2. Questioning the Human: Hamlet
3. Emptying the Human: Othello
4. Individualising the Human: Richard III
Part II: Renaturing Human Nature
5. Enough, Not Enough: Macbeth
6. Only Human: Coriolanus
7. Redemptive Irony: The Merchant of Venice
8. Humility: Love’s Labour’s Lost
9. Love: As You Like It
10. Hope: The Winter’s Tale

About the Author

Andrew Mousley is Senior Lecturer in English at De Montfort University, Leicester. He is the author of Critical Humanisms (2003, with Martin Halliwell), Renaissance Drama and Contemporary Literary Theory (2000) and the editor of New Casebooks: John Donne (1999). He is the co-editor of the Edinburgh Critical Guides to Literature series.


The second edition of Re-Humanising Shakespeare in an updated form is good news for Shakespeare studies. Mousley puts his finger on central issues in the field

- Hugh Grady, Arcadia University

The publication of a second edition of Re-Humanising Shakespeare is a testament to the enduring importance of Andy Mousley's trailblazing book, which was ahead of its time when first published, and which remains compulsory reading for anyone who needs reminding why literature matters, and who is ready to have their view of Shakespeare transformed.

- Kiernan Ryan, Royal Holloway, University of London

A thoroughly persuasive challenge to those who know the cost of everything but the value of nothing. The argument carefully recalibrates the debate launched in the First Edition, sharpening its focus, and insisting strenuously upon a radical humanist form of literary criticism that is committed to "the hopeful notion that literature can teach us how to live." This is one of the few books on Shakespeare that has shown itself capable of building judiciously on the advances of the past 40 years, and, in a just world, whose impact deserves to extend far beyond the groves of academe. A brave and confident venture into the terrain of an egalitarian, discriminating humanism that succeeds in fusing history, literary criticism, ethics and politics, that re-directs our attention away from the crass and philistine institutional vocabulary of "impact" and champions a timely alternative to the banal instrumentalism of an increasingly chaotic commercialism. We should all unite behind the banner of "literary humanism" especially in this winter of our discontent.

- John Drakakis, Stirling University

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