Shakespeare as a Way of Life-ashows how reading Shakespeare helps us to live with epistemological weakness and even to practice this weakness, to make it a way of life. In a series of close readings,-aKuzner shows how Hamlet,-aLucrece,-aOthello,-aThe WinterGCOs Tale,-aThe Tempest, and-aTimon of Athens, impel us to grapple with basic uncertainties: how we can be free, whether the world is abundant, whether we have met the demands of love and social life. To Kuzner, ShakespeareGs skepticism doesnGt have the enabling potential of KeatsGs heroic Gnegativity capability,G but neither is that skepticism the corrosive disease that necessarily issues in tragedy. While sensitive to both possibilities, Kuzner offers a way to keep negative capability negative while making skepticism livable. Rather than light the way to empowered, liberal subjectivity, ShakespeareGs works demand lasting disorientation, demand that we practice the impractical so as to reshape the frames by which we view and negotiate the world. The act of reading Shakespeare cannot yield the practical value that cognitive scientists and literary critics attribute to it. His work neither clarifies our sense of ourselves, of others, or of the world; nor heartens us about the human capacity for insight and invention; nor sharpens our ability to appreciate and adjudicate complex problems of ethics and politics. ShakespeareGs plays, rather, yield cognitive discomforts, and it is just these discomforts that make them worthwhile.
Shakespeare as a Way of Life
Fordham University Press
Skeptical Practice and the Politics of Weakness