Doubt and Skepticism in Antiquity and the Renaissance

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Cambridge University Press, Jul 9, 2012 - History - 260 pages
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This book is an interdisciplinary study of the forms and uses of doubt in works by Homer, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Cicero, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, and Montaigne. Based on close analysis of literary and philosophical texts by these important authors, Michelle Zerba argues that doubt is a defining experience in antiquity and the Renaissance, one that constantly challenges the limits of thought and representation. The wide-ranging discussion considers issues that run the gamut from tragic loss to comic bombast, from psychological collapse to skeptical dexterity, and from solitary reflection to political improvisation in civic contexts and puts Greek and Roman treatments of doubt into dialogue not only with sixteenth-century texts, but with contemporary works as well. Using the past to engage questions of vital concern to our time, Zerba demonstrates that although doubt sometimes has destructive consequences, it can also be conducive to tolerance, discovery, and conversation across sociopolitical boundaries.
  

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Contents

Achilles Doubt and HeroismatOneRemove
27
Moral Doubt and the Claims of Pity
52
Doubt and Delusions of Certainty
65
PART TWO COMIC SKEPTICISM AND POLYTROPIC STRATEGIES
83
Skeptical Inversions of Gender and Genre
111
PART THREE SKEPTICISM POLITICS AND RHETORIC IN
143
Academic Skepticism and Ciceros Republican Politics
162
A Ciceronian Machiavelli
184
g Montaignes Pyrrhonist Politics
208
Bibliography
241
Index
257
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About the author (2012)

Michelle Zerba is Associate Professor of English, Classics, and Comparative Literature at Louisiana State University. She is the author of Tragedy and Theory: The Problem of Conflict since Aristotle (1988) and numerous articles on literature, rhetoric and philosophy in antiquity and the Renaissance.

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