Cover image for Hegel and Shakespeare on moral imagination
Hegel and Shakespeare on moral imagination
Publication Information:
Albany : State University of New York Press, c2010.

Physical Description:
xxiv, 378 p.
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Material Type
Shelf Number
Ebook XX(1478478.1) 1

On Order



Study of self-consciousness in Hegel and Shakespeare.

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Choice Review

Bates's central thesis is that Hegel and Shakespeare both engage in dramatic dialectical critique of the capacity of "universal wit" to expose the hypocrisy of "universal sovereign will," and that this "collision" can produce tragedy and comedy. Building on her Theory of Imagination (2004), she enlivens and particularizes her understanding of the irreducibly imaginative nature of Hegel's thinking and writing by reenvisioning it through some of Shakespeare's significant plays. That Bates thinks that "every tragedy is a tragedy of the imagination" is no surprise. For her, imagination constitutes the fundamental mediation between the picture-thinking that dominates inner representations and the externalizing of those judgments in ethical action. Bates is original and illuminating in interweaving Shakespearian drama with both Hegel's imaginative experience of consciousness and his dramatic staging of the tragedy and comedy of "spirit's" ascent to "absolute knowing." She engages literary critics from A. C. Bradley to Stephen Greenblatt and, of course, all the major readers of Hegel, but her leaps and juxtapositions are unique, often idiomatic. Her readings of Hamlet, King Lear, The Tempest, and the history plays cast new light on Hegel's ideas of conscience, wonder, and forgiveness. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers. N. Lukacher University of Illinois at Chicago

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xxi
List of Abbreviationsp. xxiii
Introductionp. 1
Part I Sublations in Tragedy and Comedyp. 21
1 A Hegelian Reading of Good and Bad Luck in Shakespearean Drama (Phen. of Spirit, King Lear, Othello, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream)p. 23
2 Tearing the Fabric: Hegel's Antigone, Shakespeare's Coriolanus, and Kinship-State Conflict (Phen. of Spirit C. 6, Judith Butler's Antigone's Claim, Coriolanus)p. 37
3 Aufhebung and Anti-Aufhebung: Geist and Ghosts in Hamlet (Phen. of Spirit, Hamlet)p. 55
4 The Problem of Genius in King Lear: Hegel on the Feeling Soul and the Tragedy of Wonder (Anthropology and Psychology in the Encyclopaedia Philosophy of Mind, King Lear)p. 85
Part II Ethical Life and the History Plays: The Development of Negative Infinite Judgment and the Limits of the Sovereign Selfp. 113
Section 1 Sovereign Alienation and the Development of Wit (Chapters 5 and 6)p. 119
5 Richard II's Mirror and the Alienation of the Universal Will (of the "I" that Is a "We") (Richard II, Phen. of Spirit C. 5)p. 121
6 Falstaff and the Politics of Wit: Negative Infinite Judgment in a Culture of Alienation (Henry IV parts I & II, Phen. of Spirit C. 6, Philosophy of Right)p. 137
Section 2 Sovereign Deceit and the Rejection of Wit (Chapters 7, 8, and 9)p. 157
7 Henry V's Unchangeableness: His Rejection of Wit and His Posture of Virtue Reinterpreted in the Light of Hegel's Theory of Virtue (Philosophy of Right, Henry V)p. 159
8 Hegel's Theory of Crime and Evil: (Re)tracing the Rights of the Sovereign Self (Aesthetics, Phen. of Spirit, Phil. of Right, Richard II through to Henry V)p. 183
9 Richard III, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Henry V: Conscience, Hypocrisy, Self-Deceit and the Tragedy of Ethical Life (Phil. of Right, Richard III, Hamlet, Macbeth, Henry V)p. 201
Section 3 Sovereign Wit and the End of Alienation (Chapter 10)p. 223
10 Negation of the Negative Infinite Judgment vs. Sublation of It: Punishment vs. Pardon in The Philosophy of Right and Henry VIII (Phil. of Right, Phen. of Spirit C. 6 and Henry VIII)p. 225
Part III Universal Wit: The Romance Plays and Absolute Knowingp. 247
11 Universal Wit-The Absolute Theater of Identity (Phen. of Spirit C. 6 and 8, Pericles, The Tempest)p. 249
12 Absolute Infections and Their Cure (Phen. of Spirit C. 6, The Winter's Tale)p. 271
Notesp. 293
Bibliographyp. 359
Indexp. 369