Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Re-Humanising ShakespeareLiterary Humanism, Wisdom and Modernity$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Andrew Mousley

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748623181

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623181.001.0001

Show Summary Details

Historicising the Human, Humanising the Historical: I Henry IV

Historicising the Human, Humanising the Historical: I Henry IV

(p.76) Chapter 4 Historicising the Human, Humanising the Historical: I Henry IV
Re-Humanising Shakespeare

Andy Mousley

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter locates the humanising, dehumanising and rehumanising tendencies within the cultural historicisms that have dominated literary studies in recent years. It also describes Shakespeare's own treatment of history in I Henry IV (1596–7), focusing on Falstaff's humanising and Hal's dehumanising influence upon it. The example of Kastan demonstrates the point that there is a ‘residual’ literary humanism at work in forms of historicism avowedly sceptical of the existence of human nature. I Henry IV is concerned with what ‘weighs’ people down and gives them substance and solidity in a world that simultaneously promotes, or at least represents, a certain ‘lightness of being’. The idea of human dispositions being exiled from one place to another suggests a model of historical change that preserves a place for ‘ordinary’ human nature.

Keywords:   humanising tendencies, dehumanising tendencies, rehumanising tendencies, cultural historicisms, Shakespeare, I Henry IV, Falstaff, Hal, literary humanism, human nature

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.