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Rethinking Shakespeare's Political Philosophy

From Lear to Leviathan

Alex Schulman

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A new interpretation of Shakespeare’s plays as a unified statement of early modern political theory

What were Shakespeare’s politics? As this study demonstrates, contained in Shakespeare’s plays is an astonishingly powerful reckoning with the tradition of Western political thought, one whose depth and scope places Shakespeare alongside Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes and others.

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Part I: Shakespearean Antiquity
Chapter 1: The Birth of Tragicomedy (In the Defeat of Hector by Ulysses)
Chapter 2: Pagan Christs: Politics in the Roman Plays
Part II: Shakespearean Modernity
Chapter 3: King Lear and the State of Nature
Chapter 4: Shakespeare’s Novus Ordo Saeclorum: Freedom and Authority in the English Histories
Chapter 5: Shakespeare and the Theological-Political Problem
Epilogue: Brave New Worlds

About the Author

Alex Schulman is a Lecturer in the Political Science department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has taught political theory at UCLA, Harvard, Duke, and Brown, and held a New Faculty Fellowship with the American Council of Learned Societies. He is the author of The Secular Contract: The Politics of Enlightenment (2011).

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