Shakespeare and the Body Politicby Bernard J. Dobski, Dustin A. Gish, Joseph Alulis, George Anastaplo, Nasser Behnegar
Metaphors animate Shakespeare’s corpus, and one of the most prominent is the image of the body. Sketched out in the eternal lines of his plays and poetry, and often drawn in exquisite detail, variations on the body metaphor abound in the works of Shakespeare. Attention to the political dimensions of this metaphor in Shakespeare and the Body Politic permits
Metaphors animate Shakespeare’s corpus, and one of the most prominent is the image of the body. Sketched out in the eternal lines of his plays and poetry, and often drawn in exquisite detail, variations on the body metaphor abound in the works of Shakespeare. Attention to the political dimensions of this metaphor in Shakespeare and the Body Politic permits readers to examine the sentiments of romantic love and family life, the enjoyment of peace, prosperity and justice, and the spirited pursuit of honor and glory as they inevitably emerge within the social, moral, and religious limits of particular political communities. The lessons to be learned from such an examination are both timely and timeless. For the tensions between the desires and pursuits of individuals and the health of the community forge the sinews of every body politic, regardless of the form it may take or even where and when one might encounter it. In his plays and poetry Shakespeare illuminates these tensions within the body politic, which itself constitutes the framework for a flourishing community of human beings and citizensfrom the ancient city-states of Greece and Rome to the Christian cities and kingdoms of early modern Europe. The contributors to this volume attend to the political context and role of political actors within the diverse works of Shakespeare that they explore. Their arguments thus exhibit together Shakespeare’s political thought. By examining his plays and poetry with the seriousness they deserve, Shakespeare’s audiences and readers not only discover an education in human and political virtue, but also find themselves written into his lines. Shakespeare’s body of work is indeed politic, and the whole that it forms incorporates us all.
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Meet the Author
Bernard J. Dobski is Associate Professor of Political Science at Assumption College, where he teaches courses in international relations, American politics and political philosophy, including a course on Shakespeare’s politics. He received his BA from Boston College and his MA and Ph.D. from Michigan State University. He is the contributing co-editor of Souls With Longing: Representations of Honor and Love in Shakespeare (Lexington Books, 2011) and of “The Political Thought of William Shakespeare” (special issue of Perspectives on Political Science, 2012). He has published book chapters, articles, reviews and review essays on Thucydides, Xenophon, Shakespeare, Mark Twain, American foreign policy and just war theory in POLIS: The Journal For Ancient Greek Political Thought, Perspectives on Political Science, The Review of Politics, Interpretation, Society and The Review of Metaphysics.
Dustin Gish has published articles, book chapters, review essays, and reviews on a wide range of topics in the history of political philosophy, including the political thought of Homer, Xenophon, Plato, William Shakespeare, and Thomas Jefferson. He is the contributing co-editor of Souls With Longing: Representations of Honor and Love in Shakespeare and of The Political Thought of Xenophon; his work has appeared in The Journal of Politics, History of Political Thought, Perspectives on Political Science, Polis, The Review of Politics, and Bryn Mawr Classical Review. He currently teaches ancient and early modern constitutionalism as Lecturer in the Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage at the University of Oklahoma.
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