Cover of Philosophers on Shakespeare by Edited by Paul A. Kottman
Philosophers on Shakespeare
Edited by Paul A. Kottman


232 pages.
from $25.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804759199
Paperback ISBN: 9780804759205


Excerpts and More

A number of the most influential thinkers of the past two hundred and fifty years, Herder, Goethe, Hegel, Benjamin, Marx, Schmitt, Lukács, Derrida, Cavell, Agnes Heller, and others, have grappled with Shakespeare. This is the first volume to bring together their engagements with his drama, which are part of an underexplored philosophical tradition. Philosophers on Shakespeare comes at a time when the critical paradigm of Shakespeare studies in the academy is shifting from a historicist and cultural materialist model toward a renewed interest in theoretical readings of the plays. Shakespeare's work is currently being taught and performed more than ever, and there is a proliferation of new critical editions of the plays themselves to which this volume will serve as a timely and much-needed companion. It is useful for the light it sheds on individual plays as well as for its survey of literary criticism, aesthetic theory, theories of tragedy and dramatic criticism since the mid-eighteenth century.

About the author

Paul A. Kottman is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at the New School, where he teaches at Eugene Lang College, the New School for Liberal Arts, and in Liberal Studies at the New School for Social Research. He is the author of A Politics of the Scene (Stanford, 2008) and Tragic Conditions in Shakespeare (2009).

"This unusually rich and surprising collection joins a small but important set of books that provide the primary materials for tracing Shakespeare's wider cultural influence. Kottman's ambitious book draws our attention to the role of Shakespeare and his plays in forging a crucial strain of philosophical discourse for the past two centuries."

—W. B. Worthen, Barnard College

"This is a timely, thoughtful, and well-conceived project that gives readers a strong sampling of philosophical approaches to Shakespeare. One of Kottman's gifts is his extraordinary ability to stage real questions of continuing urgency. A sense of genuine engagement and creative re-encounter with the legacy of Shakespeare runs through the selected essays, as well as Kottman's lucid, determined, and compassionate introduction."

—Julia Reinhard Lupton, University of California, Irvine