Lars Engle

in The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199566105
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature


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This article addresses three questions: What is pragmatism? How is it related to theatre? How might it be helpful to think of Shakespeare as a pragmatist? While the discussion turns to some arguments made in the book Shakespearean Pragmatism (1993), it focuses on work on pragmatism, theatre, and Shakespeare that has been done since then. After offering the caveat that pragmatism does not provide a distinctive method for literary critics or a reliable weapon in their disputes with one another, the article closes with a reading of Macbeth which aligns what might seem Shakespeare's least pragmatic play with pragmatist thought.

Keywords: pragmatist thought; Shakespeare as pragmatist; theatre; literary criticism; Macbeth

Article.  10885 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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