A Buddhist's Shakespeare: Affirming Self-Deconstructions

Overview

In this volume, James Howe analyzes nine Shakespearean dramatic texts, as well as several examples of Western visual art drawn from the sixth to the seventeenth centuries, from a Buddhist perspective. He explains in the process how this perspective parallels Jacques Derrida's ideas about "differance" and how a Buddhist approach to literature can make visible those affirmations which remain invisibly "absent" in Derrida. Assuming the relations between literature and society described by Michel Foucault and the new...
See more details below
This Hardcover is Not Available through BN.com
Sending request ...

Overview

In this volume, James Howe analyzes nine Shakespearean dramatic texts, as well as several examples of Western visual art drawn from the sixth to the seventeenth centuries, from a Buddhist perspective. He explains in the process how this perspective parallels Jacques Derrida's ideas about "differance" and how a Buddhist approach to literature can make visible those affirmations which remain invisibly "absent" in Derrida. Assuming the relations between literature and society described by Michel Foucault and the new historicists, Howe studies affirmative possibilities in Shakespeare and disputes the pessimism implicit in much new historicist scholarship. Further, his analysis of visual art demonstrates that certain Buddhist-like positions have always been implicit in the Western tradition. The self-deconstructive nature of Shakespeare's plays brings these affirmative positions forcefully to the surface. In this argument, Howe applies his Buddhist perspective to some key ideas of neo-Marxists, Michel Foucault, and new historicists concerning the relations between literature and society. This perspective provides new challenges to the Marxist view that society necessarily determines our consciousness, Foucault's position that everyone in society is necessarily enclosed within a power field of competing and therefore oppositional interests, and the new historicist position that a society's established authority maintains itself in part by legitimating dissent in order to contain it. Howe proposes instead the possibility of a non-oppositional, nonideological posture in which one can stand apart from the class oppositions of Marx, the power field of Foucault, and the containment of dissent alleged by many new historicists, yet in a way which actually reduces the misery caused by social injustice. Engaging contemporary theoretical debate, Howe draws a parallel between Jacques Derrida's ideas about "differance" - in which "presence" occurs only in "absence" - and the Bud
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this groundbreaking study, Howe analyzes nine Shakespeare plays and several examples of Western visual art from a Buddhist perspective. This is a less startling approach than it might at first appear because as Howe (English emeritus, Univ. of Vermont) shows, since the fashionable literary theory of deconstruction employs methods that are similar to the Buddhist approach to human experience. But in contrast to deconstruction and its offshoot, new historicism, which preclude the possibility that literature may offer an affirmative vision of human freedom, Howe shows that Shakespeare's plays are self-deconstructive to positive effect: in exposing the illusory nature of conventional notions of the stability of the self, the plays travel from samsara (the cycle of desire and suffering) to nirvana , the egoless condition of freedom. For academic libraries.-- Bryan Aubrey, Fairfield, Ia.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780838635223
  • Publisher: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1994
  • Pages: 273

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations 8
Preface 9
Introduction 13
1 Pacifying Action in A Midsummer Night's Dream 27
2 Awakening: The Sword of Prajna in the Visual Arts and in Richard III 51
3 The Merchant of Venice as Sword of Prajna 74
4 The Cause of Suffering and the Birth of Compassion in Julius Caesar 96
5 The Emptiness of Differance and the Six Samsaric Realms in Antony and Cleopatra 114
6 Prince Hal's Deferral as the Ground of Free Play 146
7 Further Glimpses of Free Play in Hamlet and King Lear 168
Epilogue: The Tempest 191
Appendix A. The Sword of Prajna in the Visual Arts of the Continent 200
Appendix B. Shakespeare's Access to Renaissance Practices in the Visual Arts 223
Notes 228
Glossary of Buddhist and Buddhist-Related Terms 253
List of Works Cited 256
Index 270
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)