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This chapter considers how, in six successful Shakespeare films, exclusively cinematic formal methods of depicting battle serve to interpret and transform the plays’ perspectives on warfare. Special emphasis is placed on the concept (and deployment) of dialectical montage first developed by Sergei Eisenstein in his seminal 1929 essay, “The Dramaturgy of Film Form.” Though Eisenstein’s relatively rigid theory of montage has been endlessly appropriated, expanded and, at times, openly rejected by filmmakers and scholars alike, it remains ground zero for realist cinematic treatments of warfare and a key of sorts for deciphering individual filmmakers’ ideological orientations to their subject matter. The chapter argues that even the least overtly political film adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays tend to reveal a certain preoccupation with the ethical, ideological, and, of course, hermeneutic implications of representing battle scenes in a medium that all but demands their representation.
This chapter analyzes traditions of staging the plays from the beginning of the twentieth century, spanning a period from the Boer Wars until the postcolonial wars of the present. It considers not only ways of depicting fighting and battles, but also perspectives on the morality of war created by Shakespeare and his directors. During this period, post-Victorian pictorial realism and historical “accuracy” survived in cinema, but in the theater they gave way to non-illusionistic and unlocalized sets as companies turned their attention from “history” to politics. This did not mean that spectacle diminished: shocking savagery and violence could be graphically represented, but pageants of royal and aristocratic grandeur along with appeals to patriotism sustained by providence were set against vignettes of common life – no longer “comic relief” but ironic touchstones that detected processes of chauvinism, huffing rhetoric, and heroic posturing as families, factions, and nations tore themselves apart.
Given the challenges war posed for direct physical representation on the Elizabethan stage, much of Shakespeare’s mimetic success depends on his techniques of linguistic construction, especially of narrated war scenes and dialogic encounters. For narrated scenes, Shakespeare follows Marlowe in translating the “high-astounding terms” of the classical grand style to the Elizabethan stage, a choice with ideological implications explored in the chapter. Shakespeare often favors the prospective narration of imagined war scenes, turning potentially static description into the terrorizing speech acts of Henry V and other leaders. In dialogic encounters, Shakespeare develops the dynamics of verbal quarrels and of diplomacy as themselves central events of war. Plays like King John parse war as dysfunctional communication and explore what meager possibilities verbal diplomacy affords for remediation. The chapter assesses contradictions inherent in a rhetorical culture that idealizes eloquence as peacemaking and yet makes eloquence the default language for violent militarism.
It is striking how many of Shakespeare’s erotic plays have war either as their setting or are born out of a recent state of violent conflict. Troilus and Cressida and Antony and Cleopatra fall most clearly into the former camp, but think also of comedies like Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where eros emerges from a newly forged peace only to constitute a new battleground of its own. This chapter probes the conjunction of war and eros that appears in almost half of Shakespeare’s plays, first through a broad survey of his corpus and then through studies of The Two Noble Kinsmen, Troilus and Cressida, and Romeo and Juliet. It argues that, far from merely contingent, theatrical conjunctions, Shakespeare provides us a deep conceptual study of the connection between eros and violence, both the potential violence of sexuality and the unsettling underlying sexuality of war.
In her analysis of the rising prominence of recent short and flash fiction, Angela Naimou considers narrative brevity as an opening to geopolitical and temporal expansiveness in her chapter on “Short, Micro, and Flash Fiction.” Measured in major prize awards, sales, or downloads, short and short-short fiction have paradoxically thrived during the spatial and temporal conceptual expansions of, for example, globalization and the Anthropocene. Naimou identifies the techniques of short fiction representing planetary stories of migration, climate crisis, and evolutionary history in works by Teju Cole, Edwidge Danticat, Rachel B. Glaser, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and George Saunders.
What is the legacy of Grotius’ doctrinal efforts, and how did they impact on current structures of international law? Was he providing a natural law foundation for the global order, or rather an instrument of power for sovereigns to assert their political and commercial dominion over the world?
Grotius’ two major treatises on the law of nations - De jure praedae and De jure belli ac pacis - both had the discussion of the just war doctrine as the backbone to their structure and argument. Whereas the older treatise was construed to argue the justice and legality of the taking of a Portuguese ship in East Indian waters, the more mature work aimed at a systematic exposition of the laws regulating the starting, waging and ending of war. Grotius offered a novel reading of the just war doctrine by rewriting it into the key of his general legal theory and his doctrine of natural rights as subjective rights under commutative justice. This chapter analyses Grotius' reframing of the just war doctrine and his re-systematisation of late-medieval and Renaissance legacies of theologians, canonists and civilians into a new doctrine of jus ad bellum, also giving some attention to its effect for the legal proces of peace-making.
None of the rulers from the time of Abdur Rahman’s death until the communists seized power in 1978 had his reputation for violence, and the country enjoyed a long peace from the 1930s through the early 1970s. Our theory can explain why despite substantial political order, property rights did not develop much: the rulers who made minor progress in establishing legal property rights had very little state capacity and could not maintain political control, and there was never much progress in establishing political constraints. The communist governments faced even fewer constraints and were largely insulated from local institutions, which contributed to a massively unsuccessful effort to redistribute land, while the Taliban, despite providing some semblance of order and recognizing the importance of customary and traditional institutions, were largely unconstrained and without much administrative capacity to implement any sort of reform. Together, these developments illustrate a key implication of the theory: meaningful progress in establishing property rights requires a monopoly on coercion, high state capacity, strong political constraints on rulers, and inclusive political and legal institutions. Weakness of any of these elements can prevent the emergence of private property rights.
The Conclusion reiterates the book’s purpose—to more clearly and faithfully reveal war’s truths to help prevent wars, reduce their damaging effects, and win when there is no other choice. War encompasses humanity, politics, and combat, and its dialectic nature reflects humanity’s duality—peaceful and warlike, good and evil. War theory and strategy are most effective when we value both sides of war’s dialectics, and genius often lies in understanding how and when to move from one extreme to another. War has many forms, but all are related in a continuum where assessments of relative capacity influence force viscosity and posture (attack and defense). Predicting war’s future character is critical to strategy, and this is best done by studying history, trends, current circumstances, and theory. Finally, while thorough, objective analysis confirms the impracticality of permanent peace, the potential for peace increases with the full, truthful knowledge of war and its relationship to humanity provided by sound war theory.
Chapter 2 surveys and analyzes the greatest ideas and theorists in war theory and strategy – including the philosophies of Sun Tzu, Thucydides, Machiavelli, Jomini, Clausewitz, Liddell Hart, and Mao. This chapter makes war theory and its recurring themes more accessible by presenting diverse perspectives spanning all eras of military thought from classical through the twentieth century. Each theorist’s background and main ideas are presented, and their strengths and weaknesses are summarized. As history’s preeminent but also most misunderstood war theorist, special attention is given Clausewitz. Principal themes include war’s fluidity, unpredictability, violence, and reciprocity; concentration and momentum; adaptability, intelligence, and relative capacity; military genius; centers of gravity and decisive points; fog, friction, chance, and policy; guerrilla, asymmetric, and nuclear warfare; and war’s moral and physical dimensions.
Chapter 4 introduces the rules and importance of theory, then derives a Unified War Theory (UWT) that leverages insights from earlier chapters to define key aspects and relationships pertaining to politics, strategy, and combat. The chapter also establishes theory’s relevance to strategy, historical analysis, warfighting, and doctrine, then relates politics, power, influence, and ideology to war, including how autocratic and democratic governance reduces but cannot eliminate the potential for conflict. The chapter defines the nature and character of war, outlines the levels of war and strategy, and explains that cause, capacity, and will to fight comprise the “engine of war.” Additional analysis includes war’s fractal nature, warfighting domains, chance, chaos, and momentum. Next, the chapter presents a “fluidic” metaphor and defines force “viscosity,” a property based on directness, acceleration, restriction, cohesion, and concentration that reconciles war’s regular and irregular forms. The chapter offers a “war-viscosity algorithm” that illustrates the dynamics of viscosity, including how and why war’s forms change, and it concludes by examining the UWT’s value and implications vis-à-vis historical analysis, domain theory, terrorism, nuclear weapons, and ethics.
The Introduction argues that war’s danger, nuances, complexity, and impact on humanity demand further study, despite our seeming reluctance to do so. It contends that war is rife with contradictions which call out for further examination. For example, war evokes humanity’s worst traits, including vengeance, treachery, and hatred, and it has claimed millions of lives, spawned atrocities, and caused massive destruction. Yet, war has also inspired courage, honor, sacrifice, and loyalty, deposed tyrants, led to larger, more peaceful civilizations, and produced remarkable innovations that protect and preserve life. The introduction concludes by recommending that war’s repulsiveness and complexity should inspire, not deter, scholarly attention, for as with any dangerous phenomenon, understanding war’s nature is the best way to gain enough control over it to prevent wars and to diminish their hazards and prevalence.
Chapter 1 examines war’s place in a universal paradigm of order and chaos, balance and imbalance; explores war’s origins and relationship to human nature; and concludes by formally defining war. After relating Aristotle’s “four causes” model (material, formal, efficient, and final) to war as an organizing concept, the chapter articulates war’s alignment within a universal theme of balance and characterizes war as an amalgam of twenty “dialectics,” including order-chaos and creation-destruction. It highlights how political imbalances can spark war and how dialectical disparities undermine war theory and strategy. Next, the chapter marshals multidisciplinary evidence to argue that evolutionary processes have imbued humanity with warlike and peaceful attributes and that war ultimately reflects human choices arising from various motives including Thucydides’s fear, honor, and interest. Finally, the chapter concludes by defining war as the nexus of a new trinity – humanity, politics, and combat – evaluating the boundaries between war and peace, and taking a first look at the question of war’s inevitability as a human activity.
Chapter V applies concepts from preceding chapters to investigate the future character of war and war’s future as a human activity. The chapter begins by exploring the challenge of future forecasting and strategy development, which is compounded by the accumulation of human and environmental effects that invalidate assumptions. The chapter asserts that forecasting may be improved by considering three sets of factors: history and trends, current circumstances, and theory. Next, it explores political, technological, and doctrinal developments that could impact war’s future character, like artificial intelligence and nanotechnology, and provides strategic advice for both high and low capacity groups. The chapter’s latter half uses the history-current circumstances-theory model to assess the feasibility and desirability of ending war forever. Using evidence from archaeology, anthropology, history, trends, and war and peace theories, the chapter concludes that war’s existence is inextricably linked to humanity, i.e., eliminating either eliminates both. It wraps up by offering practical suggestions for minimizing the potential for war.
This chapter first examines a variety of approaches, including that of Frantz Fanon, to exploring violence and race in a colonial context. Rejecting binary approaches, like that of Fanon, this examines the political use and cultural understanding of the concepts like "race" and "ethnicity." Rather than see race in terms of a simple imperial deployment of racist practices and beliefs against the colonized, this chapter also argues for an "appropriation" model of ideas and practices of race and ethnicity to help explain the complexity of race-talk and race practices involving France, the Vietnamese, the Khmer, Africans, and Chinese. The chapter looks at France’s initial concern with white prestige in choosing the soldiers to fight on the side of France before turning to the Vietnamese. It examines pre-existing Vietnamese understandings of race, as articulated in Vietnamese, and their combination with Western discourses of race and racial hierarchies. The chapter digs into particularly troubling texts on race, racial extinction, and cannibalism, and the implication of such texts for understanding the war as a whole. Looks at arguments over purity, hybridity, and race.
The spheres’ fifteenth-century political cultures are compared with earlier periods. The west was catching up, with increasingly complex and documented administration. It also saw more lay literacy and political participation by broader bands of actors, with assemblies approving general taxes. Debate was possible in the other two spheres: Islam generally allowed for multilateral discussion on religious law, while ideals of governance were debated in late Byzantium. The west fractured along religious lines to an extent not seen elsewhere: once the clerical monopoly of divine mediation had been fundamentally challenged, the plethora of arms-bearing, landed elites perpetuated conflict. State monopoly of violence characterised Byzantium, while in the Nile-to-Oxus region, ‘men of the sword’ tended not to wage sectarian war. Around 1500, women seldom exercised formal sovereignty. But the centrality of the household as a basic social unit gave them extensive informal power. Charitable foundations were another stabiliser across the spheres. Byzantium’s Muscovite offshoot would expand, but the Ottomans’ disciplined militarism looked invincible against the fractious westerners.
After considering what is meant by ‘political culture’, this chapter looks at how such an abstraction can be applied to the long period between c.700 and c.1500, over vast stretches of the western Eurasian landmass. The author looks for recurring themes – not grand theory, but rather elements visible in and shared by societies in the three spheres of the Latin west, Byzantium and the Islamic world in this period. Four such elements are suggested – religion, women, property and war – and the author only resorts to abstract analytic categories when they help in exploring these elements across the spheres. He suggests that alertness to them might help us find some fresh things to say about a number of long-established categories such as social hierarchy, loyalty, political legitimacy and the formation of political classes.
Written by a team of leading international scholars, The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and War illuminates the ways Shakespeare's works provide a rich and imaginative resource for thinking about the topic of war. Contributors explore the multiplicity of conflicting perspectives his dramas offer: war depicted from chivalric, masculine, nationalistic, and imperial perspectives; war depicted as a source of great excitement and as a theater of honor; war depicted from realistic or skeptical perspectives that expose the butchery, suffering, illness, famine, degradation, and havoc it causes. The essays in this volume examine the representations and rhetoric of war throughout Shakespeare's plays, as well as the modern history of the war plays on stage, in film, and in propaganda. This book offers fresh perspectives on Shakespeare's multifaceted representations of the complexities of early modern warfare, while at the same time illuminating why his perspectives on war and its consequences continue to matter now and in the future.
Many of war's lethal failures are attributable to ignorance caused by a dearth of contemporary, accessible theory to inform warfighting, strategy, and policy. To remedy this problem, Colonel Geoffrey F. Weiss offers an ambitious new survey of war's nature, character, and future in the tradition of Sun Tzu and Clausewitz. He begins by melding philosophical and military concepts to reveal war's origins and to analyze war theory's foundational ideas. Then, leveraging science, philosophy, and the wisdom of war's master theorists, Colonel Weiss presents a genuinely original framework and lexicon that characterizes and clarifies the relationships between humanity, politics, strategy, and combat; explains how and why war changes form; offers a methodology for forecasting future war; and ponders the permanence of war as a human activity. The New Art of War is an indispensable guide for understanding human conflict that will change how we think and communicate about war.
While land improvement is a commonplace theme in Scott’s writing, this chapter looks at counternarratives in which he foregrounds negative environmental impact. Literary forms that are discussed include elegy and gothic. Theories used include ecogothic and ecophobia. Species loss is shown to memorialize the untimeliness of war deaths. Case studies look at environments in which evidence of cruelty, including violence against the land, refuses to be buried or, conversely, remains manifest in the form of depletion and absence. Scott’s most disturbing fiction often features trees and other plants that have been mutilated, grow unusually and in strange places, or do not grow at all. The effect is a disruption of places more usually understood to be reliable, familiar or homely. The chapter demonstrates how Scott shows aesthetics commonplace to Romantic thought to be destabilized by what grows or fails to grow, creating uneasy and uncanny ecologies.