Of philosophers and kings : political philosophy in Shakespeare's Macbeth and King Lear /

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Main Author: Craig, Leon Harold.
Format: Book
Published:Toronto ; Buffalo : University of Toronto Press, c2001.
Online Access:Table of contents 
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Review by Choice Review

Craig argues persuasively for reading Shakespeare not only as a philosopher, but even more as a political philosopher, a Platonic political philosopher at that. Craig's mastery of both Shakespeare and Plato makes such unusual an argument most plausible. He offers a new twist to the age-old quarrel between poetry and philosophy by urging that Shakespeare so overcomes Socrates' critique of poetry that he becomes the poet Socrates would allow back into the city. Still, the real meat of the book is Craig's careful and ever so perspicuous reading of these two plays, a reading enriched by his deep familiarity with Shakespeare's other plays plus wide related reading. By putting such material into endnotes and alerting the reader, a la Rousseau in the Second Discourse, that such notes may be read separately, Craig keeps the basic argument intact. This superb book is, then, a fitting sequel to his earlier volume on Plato's Republic (The War Lover; CH, Apr'95). Learned as the book is in its pursuit of major philosophic questions, it is also a pleasant read. Even when arguing against others, Craig is gentle and humorous. Highly recommended for all thoughtful readers. All levels. C. E. Butterworth University of Maryland College Park

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