"One of the few books we know Shakespeare had"

Shakespeares_philosophyYes, of course, I'll probably buy this. Having devoured "Will in the World," which explore the religious and political dynamic that shaped the art of Shakespeare, this book applies philosophy to the Bard's work.

The Austin American-Statesman also reviews Colin McGinn's "Shakespeare's Philosophy" in the "Two Books of Philosophy that Aren't Really Books of Philosophy."

Another review, reposted at ePhilosopher, suggests that the playwright was profoundly influenced by the humanism of his time and adds an interesting note for those seeking sources for Shakespeare's work.

In 'Shakespeare's Philosophy,' McGinn contends that 'an avowedly philosophical approach to Shakespeare can reveal new dimensions to his work and that his work can contribute to philosophy itself' (my emphasis)...

McGinn examines the main philosophical themes in Shakespeare's plays: knowledge and skepticism (epistemology); the self (psychology and ethics); and causality (metaphysics and ontology)...

[Colin] McGinn shows the profound influence of the humanist Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) on Shakespeare, giving convincing evidence of this influence by citing the spiritual and literary affinities between the two writers. Montaigne's book of essays is one of the few books scholars can confirm Shakespeare had in his library, and Montaigne's essay 'On Cannibals' was a direct source for 'The Tempest.'

Can contribute to philosophy itself is so true. When Jaron Lanier says he's an optimist because can envision "rationalism becoming ever more romantic," when even philosophy now experiments, I get excited.

Not only can philosophy and science be applied to great art - one can discover a lot by looking the books acquired over a lifetime - but they, in turn, can be solicited - enticed - made wobbly - by art's reasons. Transcendent work has many inspirations.

Wayne