William Hamlin's Tragedy and Scepticism in Shakespeare's England provides the first full-scale study of the reception and literary appropriation of ancient scepticism in Elizabethan and Jacobean Britain. Thoroughly interdisciplinary in conception, the book ranges widely across early-modern literary and philosophical terrain as it explores the many ways in which sceptical habits of mind intersected with dramatic tragedy in Shakespeare's day. Offering new archival evidence and a detailed taxonomy of scepticism's literary paradigms, Hamlin makes an extensive case for understanding scepticism as it was understood in early-modern Europe- particularly as it displayed openness both to religious faith and to sustained rationalism, while being wedded to neither. Also, furnishing original accounts of Florio's Montaigne and Bacon's persistent struggle with the challenges of epistemological doubt, Hamlin probes the deep connections between scepticism and tragedy in plays ranging from Doctor Faustus, The Spanish Tragedy, and Troilus and Cressida to The Duchess of Malfi, Mariam, and 'Tis Pity She's a Whore. The result is a book that carefully delineates early-modern scepticism in its historical and literary contexts while simultaneously offering fresh ways of approaching English Renaissance tragedy.

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