The Philosopher's English King: Shakespeare's "Henriad" as Political Philosophy (Paperback)Leon Harold Craig (author)
Paperback 290 Pages / Published: 01/02/2018
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This book on Shakespeare's Henriad studies the tetralogy as a work of political thought. Leon Harold Craig, author of two previous volumes on Shakespeare's political thought, argues that the four plays present Shakespeare's teaching on the problem of legitimacy, or who has the right to rule -- one of the perennial questions of political philosophy. Offering original interpretations of each of the plays, Craig discusses the demise of divine right in Richard II, political upheaval and disputed rule in Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, and the attempt to reestablish legitimacy on a new basis in Henry V. While focusing especially on the plays' various interpretive puzzles, Craig shows how the four plays constitute one narrative, culminating in the rule of England's most famous warrior king, Henry V, whose brilliant achievements were undone by ill fortune. Craig concludes with an epilogue on what might have been had Henry lived to consolidate his conquest of France and unify it with England under a single crown. Supported by a wealth of scholarship, both historical and critical, The Philosopher's English King makes a major contribution to the burgeoning scholarship on Shakespeare as a political thinker, providing further evidence for why the poet deserves to be recognized as a philosopher in his own right. Leon Harold Craig is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Alberta.
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Number of pages: 290
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
I consider this one of the best books ever written on Shakespeare's Henriad. The level of scholarship is second to none. Each chapter is as good as the next. The book is never uneven, and Craig's passion for his subject matter and his desire to share his knowledge with his readers is evident throughout. Not only does one gain many valuable insights into these plays, we are also encouraged to read Shakespeare philosophically, as I am certain Shakespeare wished to be read. VOEGELINVIEW Supported by the author's learned command of the relevant English history, this analysis not only serves as a comprehensive overview of the plays' events but also shows how paying attention to even the most minute details and minor characters can shed light on Shakespeare's central figures and plot lines. Highly recommended. CHOICE Dissenting from Craig requires the disputant's exercising his utmost capacities for philosophical reflection. . . . Because Craig rightly conceives the philosophic poet. REVIEW OF POLITICS In The Philosopher's English King Leon Craig once again proves the value of taking Shakespeare seriously as a political thinker. Drawing parallels with important political philosophers, such as Plato, Machiavelli, and Hobbes, Craig illumines some of the darker corners of Shakespeare's history plays and offers a comprehensive interpretation of the tough-minded teaching on kingship they embody. --Paul A. Cantor, University of Virginia
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