Your favorite local bookstore.
Everywhere.

You could win a $100 HPB Gift Card! ENTER NOW
Shakespeare's Courtly Mirror

Shakespeare's Courtly Mirror: Reflexivity And Prudence In All's Well That Ends Well


A leading premise of Haley's book is that modern psychological constructs are inadequate for understanding the courtly humanism dramatized by Shakespeare down to 1604. Renaissance culture knows nothing of the bourgeois subject of Locke, Freud, and Lacan. Shakespeare defines aristocratic identity in epic terms and presents not an autonomous individual but a hero whose persona is determined publicly in the "courtly mirror." That exemplary mirror, from Henry IV to Measure for Measure, reflects the heroic actions of rulers and courtiers. The historical self-awareness of Henry, Hal, and Brutus assumes a more contemporary aspect in the courtly self-consciousness of Hamlet, Duke Vincentio, and the three main characters of All's Well That Ends Well: Bertram, Helena, the King.The "reflexivity" in the title does not indicate the self-referentiality of language, nor does it refer to the traditional paradigm of consciousness implying stable self-knowledge. Courtly reflexivity is oriented toward praxis rather than introspection. Before taking action, the courtier or cortigiana - Helena is a good example - knows only that (s)he is not what (s)he is. The courtier's deliberation is guided by a reflexive, self-regulating prudence that is usually identified with honor or love. In All's Well, Shakespeare contrasts this self-providence or heroic prudence with Divine Providence, but he does so obliquely. While focusing exclusively upon a court which prizes worldly action, he sustains his contrast through a series of ironical allusions to Scripture.Beginning with a prologue on the problems raised by structural and theatrical interpretations of Bertram's role, Haley goes on to introduce his concept of reflexivity by way of an exchange with the new literary historicism. Chapters 1 to 3 follow the courtly debate over providence and honor, through Helena's triumph in act 2 to Bertram's deserting her. The collapse of her providential design coincides with the crisis of the sick King's honor - a crisis which Shakespeare describes alchemically, implying that alchemy, understood as reflexive chemistry, offers another mirror of the courtier's self-providence.Chapter 4, the center of the book, brings together historical providence and Boccaccian prudence (avvedimento) in the figure of Ahab, with whom Shakespeare compares both Bertram and the Hal of Henry V. Chapters 5 to 7 pursue Shakespeare's ironic parallel between biblical Providence and courtly prudence, examining specific scenes of self-judgment and self-betrayal in the Henriad and Measure for Measure, as well as in All's Well.



  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
    • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
    • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Sold by: --
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Univ of Delaware Pr
  • ISBN-13: 9780874134438
  • ISBN: 0874134439
  • Publication Year: 1993
HPB pick - Out of stock
Loading...
Loading marketplace...
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
×