Christian Smith and the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies offer a short non-credit module open to all on the topic of the modern dialectic in Shakespeare’s plays.
This seminar will explore four plays by Shakespeare and other selections of his writings to look for elements of modern dialectics. We will explore the thesis that Shakespeare may have played a role in the history of the development of dialectics, from its Classical form – a voluntary method of philosophical exploration – into its modern/Hegelian form – the force by which meaning expresses itself through history. This seminar will be useful to scholars working in both English literature and in philosophy. Since an understanding of the development of the dialectic is vital to Critical Theory, the seminar will also be useful to any scholar studying Critical Theory or working with it as a methodology. The tutor will be Christian Smith, whose doctoral work looked at the influence that Shakespeare had on Marx, Freud and the Frankfurt School Critical Theorists, and whose postdoctoral work explores the role of the modern dialectic as a common ground through which Shakespeare’s plays could have influenced German theory.
The seminar will be held on Tuesdays from 6-7:30pm, weeks 1-5 of Spring Term, at the Writer’s Room in the Milburn House, University of Warwick. Each session will include a mix of lecture and discussion. The syllabus is as follows:
12 Jan – Some fundamentals about Hegel’s dialectics. Dialectics in selections from Sir Thomas More, Hamlet.
19 Jan – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
26 Jan – Romeo & Juliet
2 Feb – Richard III
9 Feb – The Merchant of Venice