This book investigates Shakespeare's King Lear and its originative force in modern literature, with specific attention to the early work of the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth and to James Agee and Walker Evans's 1941 book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. This book aims to reinterpret the relations between Shakespeare and modern literary history by examining how King Lear generates a literary genealogy, or history of successors. It seeks to explore the relevance of the history to the question of the relationship between literature and politics in modernity. Shakespeare occupies a place of incontestable centrality in Western modernity. His work has been studied in a variety of disciplines, including — besides literary study — philosophy, history, political theory, religion, sociology, and psychology, plumbed for the insights it affords into the predicament of being modern.
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