Recommend to your Librarian

Request a Review Copy

Shakespeare in Hindsight

Counterfactual Thinking and Shakespearean Tragedy

Amir Khan

eBook (ePub) i
eBook (PDF) i

A novel methodology designed to make Shakespeare, and his tragedies in particular, more accessible to students and scholars alike

Why one more ‘approach’ to reading Shakespeare? One reason is because whatever previous approaches say about tragedy in particular, none of them help us to feel tragedy. Or, rather, they subordinate tragedy to something else — to considerations of class, race, or gender. Thus, where these other approaches attempt to explain tragedy away, the aim of Amir Khan’s counterfactual criticism of Shakespeare’s tragedies, including Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and Othello is to help us to feel tragedy first and foremost — and hence, to perceive it better.

Show more


A Note on Texts
1. Introduction
2. My Kingdom for a Ghost: Counterfactual Thinking and Hamlet
3. Reversing Good and Evil: Counterfactual Thinking and King Lear
4. Staging Passivity: Counterfactual Thinking and Macbeth
5. Reversing Time: Counterfactual Thinking and The Winter’s Tale
6. ‘Why Indeed Did I Marry?’ Counterfactual Thinking and Othello
7. Conclusion

About the Author

Amir Khan is an Assistant Professor of English at the Liaoning Normal University-Missouri State University (LNU-MSU) College of International Business in Dalian, China. He completed his Doctorate at the University of Ottawa in Canada and has published articles in Shakespeare Quarterly, CineAction, Popular Music and 'Society', and Anthropoetics. He is also the managing editor of Conversations, an online scholarly journal devoted to the writings of Stanley Cavell


A splendidly original investigation of Shakespeare’s most beloved tragedies. I applaud Khan for his courage and ambition in offering the reader a way of experiencing these familiar plays as if for the first time by re-examining the basic premises of character and action. For readers of his book, Hamlet, Macbeth, Lear, and Othello will never be the same.

- Gail Kern Paster, Folger Shakespeare Library

Also in this series

You might also like ...