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Title: Sounding Shakespeare : acts of reading in Cavell and Derrida
Author: Alfano, Chiara
ISNI:       0000 0004 2729 4483
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2012
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Philosophy has always turned to literature, but its engagement with Shakespeare in particular has been problematic. Stanley Cavell and Jacques Derrida do better than most other philosophical readers to meet the three criteria for worthwhile philosophical engagement with Shakespeare recently outlined by Martha Nussbaum: namely, that it should actually do philosophy, that it should illuminate the world of the plays, and that it should account for why literature can do something for philosophy that philosophy cannot do for itself. Cavell's and Derrida's acts of reading Shakespeare are, however, marked by a seemingly unphilosophical aural sensitivity. This thesis argues that we will only begin to grasp their singular and radical understanding of the relationship between literature and philosophy once we get to the bottom of these auricular preoccupations. The first part will show that in Cavell's readings of Shakespeare the figure of the ear and actual process of listening not only mark “separateness,” but are also instrumental in helping us to “acknowledge.” Although Derrida does not listen for separateness but différance, the second part argues that for him too the ear both actually and figurally inaugurates an act of reading which not only blurs the borders between the philosophical and the literary, but also fundamentally changes the way we relate the one to the other. The way Derrida and Cavell listen to Shakespeare, therefore, suggests three criteria to be added to Nussbaum's. First, the philosopher's act of reading must resonate beyond the conventional boundaries of philosophy and literature. Second, a philosopher's account needs to be based on a textual model describing how the very encounter between text and reader can become part of the philosophical endeavour. Third, this realisation must be internalised in the very way philosophy is written.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR2894 The drama. Individual authors. Shakespeare, William. General treatises, essays, etc. Comprehensive. English. General works