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Shakespeare's Body PartsFiguring Sovereignty in the History Plays$
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Huw Griffiths

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474448703

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474448703.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Introduction: The Baroque Body Parts of Henry VI Part Two

Introduction: The Baroque Body Parts of Henry VI Part Two

(p.1) Introduction: The Baroque Body Parts of Henry VI Part Two
Shakespeare's Body Parts

Huw Griffiths

Edinburgh University Press

The introduction sets up the starting premise of book: that, in the history plays, metaphors involving bodies and body parts always complicate, rather than simplify, any understanding of sovereign power. Founded on recent research into the authorship and revisions of the Henry VI plays, this chapter reveals Shakespeare’s particular contribution to the emerging genre of the history play as one of proliferating complexity. Work on the politics of the baroque in Benjamin and Foucault is used to frame an understanding of the off-kilter figuration employed in the dialogue of these plays. Key examples are taken from the Henry VI part two, where Shakespeare’s contributions to the lengthier Folio text consist almost entirely of the addition of long metaphorical speeches that contest the crown, and characters’ proximity to sovereign power.

Keywords:   Shakespeare, Sovereignty, Henry VI Part Two, The Body, Metaphor, Baroque, Walter Benjamin

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