This title digs into Shakespeare's darkest, most-important play. ""The Tragedy of King Lear"" precedes Cymbeline, King of Britain, as the earliest of Shakespeare's English history plays in the sense that it represents a primordial age when the 'sceptered isle' of 'England' was hardly yet even clearly differentiated from 'Britain'. The decay and fall of the world is visible, i.e., is originally conceivable as a subject, only from a vantage that is in some sense not itself limited to error or fault. This resolution cannot be a thesis that is merely proved from outside but a vantage that emerges in a careful reading of the 1623 folio from the beginning that is alert both to the whole of Shakespeare's corpus and its cultural context. The reading shows ""The Tragedy of King Lear"" to be a broadly Thomistic portrayal of the problem and reality of kingship, in which there emerges an increasingly explicit and profound - and entirely unsentimental - Christianity that seems as much Augustinian as Thomistic.
Guy Story Brown (Ph.D., University of Dallas) was head of the US Information Agency's international book publishing, library, and English-teaching programs from 1982 to 1988. Brown is a recipient of the Guttenberg Award, the Ivan Fedorov Medal by the Soviet government, and the Benjamin Franklin Distinguished Service Medal by the US Government Printing Office. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the J. W. Fullbright Board of Foreign Scholarships in 1992 for his work as head of the international Fulbright scholarships and academic programs, 1988-1992. Dr. Brown is the author of Calhoun's Philosophy of Politics: A Study of a Disquisition on Government.