Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

Acknowledgments

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p. ix

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INTRODUCTION: Disinheriting the Globe

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pp. 1-22

The world, such as it is left to us, seems more unwieldy, troublesome, and broken than the world left to our forebearers. As we know, our forebearers suffered much. So, it cannot be said that our experiences are somehow more wrenching than those of our ancestors. If the social world we inherit—our institutions, possessions, ritual practices, kinship ties, and political prerogatives...

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CHAPTER 1 On As You Like It

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pp. 23-43

We find ourselves among persons in exile in a makeshift refugee camp. Trudging through Arden forest, the banished Duke Senior is exposed to nature’s “icy fang, / And churlish chiding of the winter’s wind,” which “bites and blows” upon him until “[he] shrink[s] with cold” (2.1.6–9)...

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CHAPTER 2 On Hamlet

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pp. 44-77

I would like to frame this chapter with a straightforward question about Hamlet, a version of which arises every time I approach the play with students but that seems to me not to have been explicitly posed in recent scholarly discussion of Hamlet. Why do we care about Hamlet and his fate, if in fact we do?...

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CHAPTER 3 On King Lear

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pp. 78-131

No other play by Shakespeare opens with a more firmly established and inheritable world; yet, no other play finishes with a more profound sense of social, ethical, and worldly loss, as if by the drama’s end the inheritance and bequeathal of our sociality were neither desirable nor possible. If Hamlet throws the inheritability of patrimonial or matrilineal principles of social organization...

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CHAPTER 4 On The Tempest

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pp. 132-166

What cares these roarers for the name of King?” cries the boatswain over the sound of the storm at the beginning of The Tempest (1.1.16–17). Together with Lear’s address to the thunder and wind on the heath, the boatswain’s words in the face of the roaring sea can be understood to demonstrate the indifference of nature to human society and authority...

Notes

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pp. 167-194

Index

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pp. 195-196