Shakespeare and Happiness  book cover
1st Edition

Shakespeare and Happiness

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after January 25, 2022
ISBN 9780367742201
January 25, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
264 Pages

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Book Description

Shakespeare and Happiness is a study of attitudes to happiness in the early modern period and in Shakespeare’s plays. It considers the conflicting influences of religion and Aristotelian philosophy in shaping attitudes to the possibility of attaining happiness.

By being the first book to focus specifically on the representation of happiness in Shakespeare’s plays, it contributes to

  • feminist approaches to Shakespeare by foregrounding the important role of women in showing the right way to live and achieve happiness.
  • timely criticism, as it considers Shakespeare in the current context of the #MeToo movement
  • providing new insights to studies of the emotions by approaching them from the perspective of research conducted by positive psychologists.

This book takes an interdisciplinary approach that combines methodologies from literature, psychology philosophy, religion and history, by emphasizing the richness and complexity of Shakespeare’s exploration of the nature of happiness.

Table of Contents

Introduction;  Part I. Thinking About Happiness;  1. Happiness in the Early Modern Period;  2. Approaches to Shakespeare;  Part II. Happiness Gained: The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It and Twelfth Night;  3. Looking for Different Types of Happiness;  4. Looking for Happiness in a Fallen World;  5. Rewriting Eve;  Part III. Happiness Lost: Hamlet, Measure for Measure, Othello and The Winter’s Tale;  6. Trapped in a Fallen World;  7. Blaming Eve: Exercises in Power; 8. And After That Forgiveness?;  Conclusion;  Bibliography

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Kathleen French has a PhD from The University of Sydney. She is currently an Honorary Associate in the Department of English at The University of Sydney.