SHAKESPEARE AND PHILOSOPHY
A Seminar with Simon Critchley | June 30- July 7, 2012Whether tragical, comical, historical or lyrical, the vast human panorama of Shakespeare’s work raises many of the deepest and most enduring philosophical questions: knowledge versus skepticism, reality versus appearance, traditional virtue versus modern moral expediency, self versus other, being versus non-being. From Hegel to Cavell, Shakespearean texts have proven themselves to be decisive ways in which philosophy has come to understand itself and have provided a unique space in which to inform, influence and indeed challenge forms of philosophical understanding.Following on from the success of last year’s summer school ‘On the Tragic and its Limits’, which dealt with Attic tragedy and its philosophical interpretation from Plato to Heidegger, our focus will be the way in which Shakespeare allows us to locate the emergence of modern drama and indeed the phenomenon of modernity. As the young Schelling writes, ‘If our world were ever lost, one could recreate it from the series of Shakespeare’s works’.Simon Critchley will give a series of lectures on Hamlet which will deal with various ‘outsider’ interpretations of the play, notably those of Schelling, Hegel, Nietzsche, Freud, Schmitt, Benjamin and Lacan as well as providing a close textual engagement with the play itself.Although Hamlet and the other tragedies will provide a primary focus for discussion, applications are welcomed on any aspect of Shakespeare’s work and its philosophical purport or its challenge to philosophy. Indeed, we are particularly interested in the ways in which Shakespeare’s comedies, historical plays and poetry raise philosophical questions that might place in question the alleged philosophical primacy of the tragedies and the category of the tragic. We also welcome interpretations of Shakespeare that touch on psychoanalytic, political, legal and ethical themes.