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Vol.3, Issue 1, 2017, pp.5-25 Full text

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Web of Science: 000446616700002

Tadd Graham Fernée

New Bulgarian University, Sofia, Bulgaria

This article argues that William Shakespeare's King Lear anticipates core political dynamics of the English Civil War (1641-49), and philosophical tenets of the British Enlightenment in John Locke and David Hume. It analyzes three principle and competing paradigms of public authority in King Lear: theodicy, nature, and the autonomy of thought. The play is historically contextualized within the 16th century. King Lear, moreover, portends revolutionary new thought patterns: the centerless universe of modern astronomy, and human embeddedness in fluid nature without fixed identity. Three variants on the concept of "nothing" - existential, social, and philosophical - interweave the cosmic and political threads, based on a circular temporality. Shakespeare's character, Cordelia, affirms the everyday over the cosmic, and the sociological over the metaphysical. King Lear depicts a profound moral trans-valuation in early modern history, whose shifting temporal horizons remain central also to contemporary politics.

Keywords: William Shakespeare, King Lear, Tudor history, Stuart history, English Civil War, David Hume, Enlightenment, political pluralism, secularism, theocracy

Article history:
Submitted: 10 March 2017;
Reviewed: 01 April 2017;
Accepted: 08 May 2017;
Published: 31 May 2017

Citation (APA):
Fernée, T. G. (2017). Every Turn of the Wheel: Circular Time and Cordelia's Revolt: from William Shakespeare to the British Enlightenment. English Studies at NBU, 3(1), 5-25.

Copyright © 2017 Tadd Graham Fernée

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Open Review

1. Andrey Andreev, New Bulgarian University
Publons|Reviewer Profile
Review Verified on Publons:
Review content:
The manuscript is an original contribution in that it brings together knowledge from diverse areas of scholarly study to re-examine a timeless literary work.

The research problem is important, as it relates to an author whose work is constantly being reinterpreted and reevaluated, and the purpose is clearly and well defined.

The author makes innovative use of a wide range of sources and successfully brings together diverse theoretical frameworks.

The methodological approaches are perfectly suitable to the subject matter under exploration.

The inferences and conclusions are well supported and organized, and highly convincing. The implications are clearly implicated.

The manuscript is very well-written and highly readable; the argument is coherent and well presented, and the style is perfectly suitable to the purpose.

The article can be enjoyed by both a specialized audience and by readers from across disciplines.

Reviewer's name: Undisclosed
Review content: Undisclosed

Handling Editor: Stan Bogdanov
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