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CRRS Friday Workshop: Paul Stevens – “Henry V: Political Theology and the Pleasures of War”

January 25, 2019 at 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Bio: Paul Stevens is Professor and Chair of the Department of English at the University of Toronto. His area of expertise is 17th-Century literature, especially the works of John Milton. His first book was Imagination and the Presence of Shakespeare in Paradise Lost and most recent is the award-winning volume Early Modern Nationalism and Milton’s England. At the moment, he has two book projects in progress: Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and War (due out in 2019), and Sola Gratia: English Literature and the Secular Ways of Grace, for which he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Abstract: When compared to the earliest published version of Henry V, the Quarto of 1600 or Q, the first folio of 1623 or F (which may actually be older than Q) is remarkable for the way it contains passages that simultaneously intensify both the play’s scepticism about the value of war and its exhilaration in the practice of war. The subject of this paper is the relation between these two countervailing tendencies, especially the degree to which the latter, the play’s delight in war, complicates the former and so denies any clear-cut moral critique. More importantly, the paper aims to explain why Shakespeare’s evocation of the pleasures of war has been and remains so potent.


January 25, 2019
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
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