Entertaining the Idea: Shakespeare, Performance, and Philosophy
To entertain an idea is to take it in, pay attention to it, give it breathing room, dwell with it for a time. The practice of entertaining ideas suggests rumination and meditation, inviting us to think of philosophy as a form of hospitality and a kind of mental theatre. In this collection, organized around key words shared by philosophy and performance, the editors suggest that Shakespeare’s plays supply readers, listeners, viewers, and performers with equipment for living.
In plays ranging from A Midsummer Night’s Dream to King Lear and The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare invites readers and audiences to be more responsive to the texture and meaning of daily encounters, whether in the intimacies of love, the demands of social and political life, or moments of ethical decision. Entertaining the Idea features established and emerging scholars, addressing key words such as role play, acknowledgment, judgment, and entertainment as well as curse and care. The volume also includes longer essays on Shakespeare, Kant, Husserl, and Hegel as well as an afterword by theatre critic Charles McNulty on the philosophy and performance history of King Lear.
- Series: UCLA Clark Memorial Library Series
- World Rights
- Page Count: 252 pages
- Illustrations: 6
- Dimensions: 6.1in x 1.0in x 9.1in
"Entertaining the Idea represents a definite stream in current thinking about Shakespeare, and it offers enlightening links between the professional worlds of the theatre and the academy that may interest those outside the sphere of professional Shakespeareans."
Christopher Warley, Professor of English, University of Toronto
"Entertaining the Idea is a significant contribution to research in the field of Shakespeare scholarship and performance studies. It has great significance for the field of philosophical aesthetics as well as ethics."
Michael Bristol, Professor Emeritus of English, McGill University
"This innovative collection brings together an impressive range of established and emerging scholars. Together, their essays show Shakespeare's plays performing important philosophical work, enacting and expanding essential concepts."
Jennifer Rust, Georgia K. Johnston Professor of English, St. Louis University
"This innovative and compelling volume represents a major contribution to Shakespeare studies. Starting from a seemingly simple observation that Shakespeare’s plays are remarkably entertaining, this study’s explorations of how Shakespeare entertains ideas – in the sense of welcoming them, playing with them, conversing with them, testing and challenging them – lead to strikingly novel and compelling delineations of various ways in which Shakespearean entertainment interweaves philosophy with performance, making each the measure and interlocutor of the other.
Donald Wehrs, Hargis Professor of English Literature, Auburn University
"Entertaining the Idea admirably prioritizes the sometimes playful, sometimes risky work of thinking rather than the satisfaction of knowing. Addressing readers as co-experimenters, creative interlocutors, and fellow teachers, the contributors model a collaborative, dynamic form of literary-critical engagement.The collection thinks through Shakespeare's status as a resource for philosophical and ethico-political reflection not only by delivering new interpretations but also by expanding the notion of reading to encompass exercises, trials, proposals, object lessons, and provocations that bring the plays to unpredictable life."
David Simon, Assistant Professor of English, University of Maryland
Entertaining the Idea offers a dazzling array of lucid, provocative essays on Shakespeare’s intellectual commitments and their ethical implications. In dialogue with thinkers such as Aristotle, Hegel, Hadot, and Cavell, Shakespeare’s plays come alive as embodied, open-ended, and electric thought-experiments.
Patrick Gray, Associate Professor of English, Durham University
Author InformationLowell Gallagher is a professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles.
James Kearney< is an associate professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Julia Reinhard Lupton is a professor of English at the University of California, Irvine.
Table of contents
Introduction: Lowell Gallagher, James Kearney, and Julia Reinhard Lupton
Section I: Key Words
1. Shakespeare and Role Playing
5. Way of Life
Sheiba Kian Kaufman
Section II: Extended Encounters
9. Shakespeare’s Now: Some Philosophical Perspectives on King Lear and The Winter’s Tale
10. Hegel with Hamlet: Questions of Method
11. Bliss Unrevealed: The “Trial” in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale
Afterword by Charles McNulty, Theatre Critic, Los Angeles Times
Subjects and Courses