Shakespeare's Philosophy by Colin McGinn
Discovering the Meaning Behind the Plays

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See Reader Rating


Shakespeare's plays are usually studied by literary scholars and historians and the books about him from those perspectives are legion. It is most unusual for a trained philosopher to give us his insight, as Colin McGinn does here, into six of Shakespeare's greatest plays––A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, and The Tempest.

In his brilliant commentary, McGinn explores Shakespeare's philosophy of life and illustrates how he was influenced, for example, by the essays of Montaigne that were translated into English while Shakespeare was writing. In addition to chapters on the great plays, there are also essays on Shakespeare and gender and his plays from the aspects of psychology, ethics, and tragedy.

As McGinn says about Shakespeare, "There is not a sentimental bone in his body. He has the curiosity of a scientist, the judgement of a philosopher, and the soul of a poet." McGinn relates the ideas in the plays to the later philosophers such as David Hume and the modern commentaries of critics such as Harold Bloom. The book is an exhilarating reading experience, especially at a time when a new audience has opened up for the greatest writer in English.


About Colin McGinn

See more books from this Author
Colin McGinn is a professor of philosophy at Rutgers University. He is the author of sixteen previous books, including The Making of a Philosopher: My Journey Through Twentieth-Century Philosophy; Space Trap, a novel; and, most recently, Mindsight: Image, Dream, Meaning. McGinn's writing has appeared in such publications as The New York Review of Books, London Review of Books, The New Republic, and The New York Times Book Review.From the Hardcover edition.
Published March 17, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 242 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

Reader Rating for Shakespeare's Philosophy

An aggregated and normalized score based on 13 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review