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Shakespeare’s Philosopher King: Reading the Tragedy of King Lear

By author: Guy Story Brown
Product Code: H801
ISBN: 9780881461855
Product Format: Hardback
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Availability:Not currently available.
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Price: $45.00

The Tragedy of King Lear precedes Cymbeline, King of Britain, as the earliest of Shakespeare’s English history plays in the sense that it represents a primordial age when the “sceptered isle” of “England” was hardly yet even clearly differentiated from “Britain.” The decay and fall of the world is visible, i.e., is originally conceivable as a subject, only from a vantage that is in some sense not itself limited to error or fault. This resolution cannot be a thesis that is merely proved from outside but a vantage that emerges in a careful reading of the 1623 folio from the beginning that is alert both to the whole of Shakespeare’s corpus and its cultural context. The reading shows The Tragedy of King Lear to be a broadly Thomistic portrayal of the problem and reality of kingship, in which there emerges an increasingly explicit and profound—and entirely unsentimental—Christianity that seems as much Augustinian as Thomistic.
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