Second Death Theatricalities of the Soul in Shakespeare's Drama

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2017-09-01
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press

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Donovan Sherman's study is original in the ways in which it seeks to join together a theology of the soul and the mode of performance and theatre. I admire the determinedly "pre-Cartesian" thrust of the book, as also the sense that Shakespeare is doing philosophical work in the form of
theatre. -- Sarah Beckwith, Duke University

Second Death seeks to revitalise our understanding of the soul as a philosophically profound, theoretically radical, and ultimately-and counterintuitively-theatrically realised concept. The book contends that the work of Shakespeare, when closely read alongside early modern cultural and religious
writings, helps us understand the soul's historical placement as a powerful paradox: it was essential to establishing humanity but resistant to clear representation. Drawing from current critical theory as well as extensive historical research, Second Death examines works of Shakespearean drama,
including The Merchant of Venice, Coriolanus, and The Winter's Tale, to suggest that rather than simply being incapable of understanding or physical realisation, the soul expressed itself in complex and subtle modes of performance. As a result, this book offers new ways of looking at identity,
theatre, and spirituality in Shakespeare's era and in our own.

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