FREDONIA - Dr. Raymond Angelo Belliotti, State University at Fredonia distinguished teaching professor of philosophy, analyzes and applies classical literature to contemporary social problems in his latest book, Shakespeare and Philosophy: Lust, Love, and Law, recently published by Rodopi Editions in Philosophy, Literature, and Politics, a special series in its Value Inquiry Book Series.
The book is an interdisciplinary work that weaves literary interpretation, legal theory, and philosophical doctrine about sex and love into a coherent mosaic in the context of two of Shakespeare's plays: The Merchant of Venice and Measure for Measure. In the process, the work advances literary interpretations of the plays including character studies of the main protagonists.
"The aim is partly theoretical but mostly practical: to demonstrate what we can learn about living a robustly meaningful and significant human life by taking Shakespeare's work seriously from contemporary philosophical and legal vantage points," Belliotti said.
Shakespeare does not reveal a tightly defined moral system that he is trying to urge upon his audience. Instead, Shakespeare challenges his audience to struggle with moral complexity as they confront conflicting elements surrounding legal and moral issues presented in his work and within the souls of his characters. His issues and their conflicts are also the audience's.
Belliotti has written 12 other books addressing issues in jurisprudence, sexual ethics, ethnic identity, Nietzsche, the meaning of life, human happiness, philosophy and baseball, Machiavelli, Roman philosophy, Dante, and posthumous harm.