A Buddhist's Shakespeare: Affirming Self-deconstructions

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Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 1994 - 273 páginas
In this volume, James Howe analyzes nine Shakespearean dramatic texts, as well as several examples of Western visual art drawn from the sixth to the seventeenth centuries, from a Buddhist perspective. He explains in the process how this perspective parallels Jacques Derrida's ideas about "differance" and how a Buddhist approach to literature can make visible those affirmations which remain invisibly "absent" in Derrida. Assuming the relations between literature and society described by Michel Foucault and the new historicists, Howe studies affirmative possibilities in Shakespeare and disputes the pessimism implicit in much new historicist scholarship. Further, his analysis of visual art demonstrates that certain Buddhist-like positions have always been implicit in the Western tradition. The self-deconstructive nature of Shakespeare's plays brings these affirmative positions forcefully to the surface.
In this argument, Howe applies his Buddhist perspective to some key ideas of neo-Marxists, Michel Foucault, and new historicists concerning the relations between literature and society. This perspective provides new challenges to the Marxist view that society necessarily determines our consciousness, Foucault's position that everyone in society is necessarily enclosed within a power field of competing and therefore oppositional interests, and the new historicist position that a society's established authority maintains itself in part by legitimating dissent in order to contain it. Howe proposes instead the possibility of a non-oppositional, nonideological posture in which one can stand apart from the class oppositions of Marx, the power field of Foucault, and the containment of dissent alleged by many new historicists, yet in a way which actually reduces the misery caused by social injustice.
Engaging contemporary theoretical debate, Howe draws a parallel between Jacques Derrida's ideas about "differance" - in which "presence" occurs only in "absence" - and the Buddhist idea of shunyata, the fullness of emptiness. He also shows the similarities between Derrida's and Buddhism's critiques of reason and language.
The essential Buddhist perspective, Howe argues, is that "reality" lacks the solidity which we habitually assume it has, and that therefore the appropriate attitude toward life is to play it as we would a game - with unusual seriousness, for itself rather than for any ulterior motive, even that of investing it with meaning. Howe also demonstrates that the "real" subject of representational art is always just itself. The significance of such art depends upon the concession that it has no significance. In the same way, it is precisely the self-deconstructive nature of Shakespeare's plays which makes their Buddhist-like affirmative positions visible.

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A Buddhist's Shakespeare: affirming self-deconstructions

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In this groundbreaking study, Howe analyzes nine Shakespeare plays and several examples of Western visual art from a Buddhist perspective. This is a less startling approach than it might at first ... Ler resenha completa

Conteúdo

Pacifying Action in A Midsummer Nights Dream
27
Awakening The Sword of Prajna in the Visual Arts and in Richard III
51
The Merchant of Venice as Sword of Prajna
74
The Cause of Suffering and the Birth of Compassion in Julius Caesar
96
The Emptiness of Differenceand the Six Samsaric Realms in Antony and Cleopatra
114
Prince Hals Deferral as the Ground of Free Play
146
Further Glimpses of Free Play in Hamlet and King Lear
168
The Tempest
191
The Sword of Prajna in the Visual Arts of the Continent
200
Shakespeares Access to Renaissance Practices in the Visual Arts
223
Notes
228
Glossary of Buddhist and BuddhistRelated Terms
253
List of Works Cited
256
Index
270
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Página 99 - When beggars die there are no comets seen ; The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.
Página 134 - Nietzschean affirmation, that is the joyous affirmation of the play of the world and of the innocence of becoming, the affirmation of a world of signs without fault, without truth, and without origin which is offered to an active interpretation.
Página 178 - tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now ; if it be not now, yet it will come : the readiness is all : Since no man, of aught he leaves, knows, what is't to leave betimes ?
Página 126 - O, wither'd is the garland of the war, The soldier's pole is fall'n : young boys and girls Are level now with men ; the odds is gone, And there is nothing left remarkable Beneath the visiting moon.
Página 29 - I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream, — past the wit of man to say what dream it was : man is but an ass, if he go about to expound this dream.
Página 118 - Tis paltry to be Caesar ; Not being fortune, he 's but fortune's knave', A minister of her will ; And it is great To do that thing that ends all other deeds...
Página 136 - tis most certain, Iras. Saucy lictors Will catch at us, like strumpets ; and scald rhymers Ballad us out o' tune : the quick comedians Extemporally will stage us, and present Our Alexandrian revels : Antony Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness I
Página 125 - Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have Immortal longings in me: Now no more The juice of Egypt's grape shall moist this lip: — Yare, yare, good Iras; quick. — Methinks, I hear Antony call; I see him rouse himself To praise my noble act; I hear him mock The luck of Caesar, which the gods give men To excuse their after wrath: Husband, I come: Now to that name my courage prove my title ! I am fire, and air; my other elements I give to baser life.
Página 45 - If we shadows have offended. Think but this, and all is mended, That you have but slumber'd here, While these visions did appear. And this weak and idle theme, No more yielding but a dream, Gentles, do not reprehend: If you pardon, we will mend.

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