Literary Tales Ep. 10: Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra”

In this lecture of literary tales we explore Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, principally in Shakespeare's dialectic of the coldness of politics (embodied by Ocatvian/Augustus Caesar) and the rapturous ecstasy of love (embodied by our titular tragic protagonists Antony and Cleopatra). This lecture explores the theme of love and politics (covered in this lecture) in fuller … Continue reading Literary Tales Ep. 10: Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra”

Literary Tales Ep. 9: Shakespeare on Love & War

In this half hour lecture of Literary Tales, we explore William Shakespeare's thematic dialectical contrast of love and war, primarily through his plays Henry V and Richard III. Continuing, somewhat, from our exploration of Shakespeare's contrast of love and politics, we return to the theme of power (politics) vs. love (self-giving, life-giving, and flesh uniting). … Continue reading Literary Tales Ep. 9: Shakespeare on Love & War

Hegel and Napoleon: On Heroes and the Sublime in History

There are two great stories concerning Hegel and Napoleon. The first, undeniably fantastical and romantic, is that Hegel was finishing up his draft manuscript of the Phenomenology of Spirit as the Battle of Jena roared behind him as he escaped the hellfire of the morning; the second, true, relates to Hegel’s encounter with Napoleon which … Continue reading Hegel and Napoleon: On Heroes and the Sublime in History

Carl Schmitt’s “Concept of the Political”: The Friend-Enemy Distinction

In one of his early and most well-known works, the Concept of the Political, Carl Schmitt endeavors to explore what the political is and is not.  There are multiple layers to Schmitt’s thinking and his criticism of liberalism, in particular, and where he sees himself in the grand scheme of Hegelian epochal historicism and the broader … Continue reading Carl Schmitt’s “Concept of the Political”: The Friend-Enemy Distinction

The Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes, Part IV: War and the State of Nature

Proceeding to reading Chapters 10-13 we hit the meat of Hobbes’s Leviathan.  We approach his famous commentary on the state of nature, wherein we are burdened by the “war of every man against everyman” or “war of all against all” (from the Latin edition: Bellum omnium contra omnes) and his bleak assessment that life in this state … Continue reading The Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes, Part IV: War and the State of Nature

John Locke’s “Second Treatise,” Part I: State of Nature & State of War

John Locke is commonly thought of as the “father of limited government” and the progenitor of the rights-based tradition of political philosophy called “liberalism.”  He is often contrasted with the absolutism of Hobbes: Locke’s government is minimal where Hobbes’s government is all-powerful, Locke’s State of Nature is good and benign where Hobbes’s state of nature … Continue reading John Locke’s “Second Treatise,” Part I: State of Nature & State of War

Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” Part III

In finishing the last chapters of Machiavelli’s most famous work, The Prince, we will tie up loose ends and come to an understanding of what Machiavelli was saying in his work and what Machiavelli was not saying in his work.  To review, up to this point Machiavelli’s Prince is about “practical advice” on new princes who have risen … Continue reading Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” Part III