On Thursday December 17 (two days before Shakespeare and the State of Exception) KiSSiT Work-in-Progress will reconvene for a session entitled ‘Shakespearean Dialectics – from Hegel to Adorno’ with Christian Smith (Warwick) and Timo Uotinen (Royal Holloway) presenting. Christian’s paper is entitled ‘Shakespeare and the Dialectic’ and Timo’s ‘Dialectical Nature: Dissemblance, history, and Richard III‘. The session will start at 5 pm in the Gallery at the Rose Theatre, Kingston after which we will adjourn to a pub nearby. Everyone is welcome to attend and take part in the discussion. As all KiSSiT events, it is free.
On a related note: Christian Smith will be offering a 5-week class on the dialectic in Shakespeare’s plays next term, Tuesdays Jan 12, 19, 26, Feb 2, 9, at Warwick University, Writer’s Room, Milburn House. 6-7:30pm. It’s open to all and free! Further details, look here. Go and continue the discussion there!
On the presentations and presenters:
Shakespeare and the Dialectic – In this paper the presence of modern dialectics, avant la lettre, in Shakespeare’s plays will be explored. Shakespeare may have had a role in the development of the dialectic from its Classical form into its modern, Hegelian, form. The development of the dialectic in Shakespeare’s plays may form the ground through which Shakespeare influenced Marxism and psychoanalysis. The aspects of Marxism and psychoanalysis that the Frankfurt School Critical Theorists liked and incorporated into their writings may be the Shakespearean-influenced parts. This paper will be focused on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hegel’s Science of Logic and Adorno’s Hegel: Three Studies.
Christian Smith is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. His doctoral research looked at the influence that Shakespeare had on Marx, Freud and the Frankfurt School Critical Theorists. In his postdoctoral work, he is investigating the possibility that the ground through this influence traveled may have been the historical development of the dialectic.
Dialectical Nature: Dissemblance, history, and Richard III – How is the concept of nature intertwined with that of history in the ‘dissembled’ body of Richard? Stemming from Hegel’s description of the dialectic in the Phenomenology of Spirit and Adorno’s critique thereof, this paper will explore the possibility of resistance within Shakespeare against a determining nature.
Timo Uotinen is a PhD candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has an MA in English from the University of Tampere and an MA in Modern European Philosophy from CRMEP, situated then at Middlesex, now at Kingston University. His thesis is tentatively titled ‘Idols of Nature: Baconian Philosophy and (Self)destructiveness in Shakesperean Tragedy’, which looks at how concepts of nature and the natural, stemming from Bacon’s theory of Idols, mediate ethical relations and especially murder and suicide. He also actively partakes in Kingston Shakespeare and organises KiSSiT events.