Shakespeare's Political Realism: The English History Plays

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Albany, NY 2001 Cloth Near Fine to Fine in Printed Boards jacket Book. 8vo-over 7?"-9?" tall. 208 pp. Tightly bound. Corners not bumped. Text is free of markings.

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Overview

"This book provides fresh interpretations of five of Shakespeare's history plays (King John, Richard II, Henry IV, Parts I and II, and Henry V), each guided by the often criticized assumption that Shakespeare can teach us something about politics. In contrast to many contemporary political critics who treat Shakespeare's political dramas as narrow reflections of his time, the author maintains that Shakespeare's political vision is wide-ranging, compelling, and relevant to modern audiences. Paying close attention to character and context, as well as to Shakespeare's creative use of history, the author explores Shakespeare's views on perennially important political themes such as ambition, legitimacy, tradition, and political morality. Particular emphasis is placed on Shakespeare's relation to Machiavelli, turning repeatedly to the conflict between ambition and justice. In the end, Shakespeare's history plays point to the limits of politics even more pessimistically than Machiavelli's realism."--BOOK JACKET.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Spiekerman (political science, Kenyon College) interprets five history plays based on the assumption that Shakespeare can teach modern readers something about politics. He argues that Shakespeare's political vision is wide-ranging, compelling, and relevant to modern audiences, and explores his views of perennially important political themes such as ambition, legitimacy, tradition, and political morality. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
“Spiekerman’s view of Shakespeare’s politics is sound, judicious, and balanced. He convincingly shows that Shakespeare absorbed the lessons of Machiavelli’s realism without simply going over to his cynical view of politics.” — Paul A. Cantor, author of Shakespeare: Hamlet
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791448670
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Spiekerman is Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Kenyon College.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 Introduction: Shakespeare's Politics 1
Ch. 2 King John 39
Ch. 3 King Richard II 59
Ch. 4 King Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 91
Ch. 5 King Henry V 125
Ch. 6 Conclusion: Shakespeare and Machiavelli Revisited 153
App The Omission of the Magna Carta in King John 167
Notes 171
Bibliography 197
Index 203
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