Lecture by Paul Kottmann

Why should we care about Shakespearean tragedy?

Guest Lecture by Dr. Paul Kottmann, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at the New School Lang (New York)

In his lecture, Paul Kottman will propose that Shakespeare accepts the loss of any “given” — nature, or God, or “fate” — that might explain human societies, relationships and values. At the same time, Shakespeare stages the loss of traditional social bonds on which we depend for the meaning and worth of our lives together. Nevertheless, Shakespeare does not leave us with a desperate nihilism — but with tools for constructing a public culture based on something other than a national or religious tradition, or mass culture.

Paul Kottman is the author of Tragic Conditions in Shakespeare (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009), A Politics of the Scene (Stanford University Press, 2008) and the editor of Philosophers on Shakespeare (Stanford University Press, 2009). He is currently working on a book project, tentatively entitled "Defying the Stars: Romantic Love as Human Freedom.". His writing has appeared in Diacritics, Shakespeare Quarterly, Constellations, The Oxford Literary Review, Criticism, Shakespeare Studies, Theatre Journal, the Journal of Cultural and Religious Studies and the Revue Internationale de Philosophie among other venues. He is also the editor of a new book series at Stanford University Press, called Square One: First-Order Questions in the Humanities.