The Improbability of Othello: Rhetorical Anthropology and Shakespearean Selfhood (Hardback)Joel B. Altman (author)
Hardback 464 Pages
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The Improbability of Othello: Rhetorical Anthropology and Shakespearean Selfhood (Hardback)
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Shakespeare's dramatis personae exist in a world of supposition, struggling to connect knowledge that cannot be had, judgments that must be made, and actions that need to be taken. For them, probability - what they and others might be persuaded to believe - not certainty, governs human affairs. Yet negotiating the space of probability is fraught with difficulty. Here, Joel B. Altman explores the problematics of probability and the psychology of persuasion in Renaissance rhetoric and Shakespeare's theater. Focusing on the "Tragedy of Othello", Altman investigates Shakespeare's representation of the self as a specific realization of tensions pervading the rhetorical culture in which he was educated and practiced his craft. In Altman's account, Shakespeare also restrains and energizes his audiences' probabilizing capacities, alternately playing the skeptical critic and dramaturgic trickster. A monumental work of scholarship by one of America's most respected scholars of Renaissance literature, "The Improbability of Othello" contributes fresh ideas to our understanding of Shakespeare's conception of the self, his shaping of audience response, and the relationship of actors to his texts.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 464
Weight: 765 g
Dimensions: 24 x 17 x 3 mm
"For thirty years, Joel Altman's foundational thinking about Tudor drama has inspired scholars working at the boundaries of rhetoric, literature, and law. His brilliant and complex new study will have an even greater impact. Combining great erudition and conceptual sophistication with a dazzling sensitivity to literary language as an instrument of psychological and ethical meaning, The Improbability of Othello is a magisterial contribution to Shakespeare and early modern studies, to the histories of rhetoric and culture, and to the genealogy of self and subjectivity." - Bradin Cormack, University of Chicago"
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