This volume presents a series of essays in honor of noted scholar of political theory, Mary P. Nichols. The essays reflect Nichols’ pathbreaking work in ancient Greek political thought, as well as her influential treatments of works of literature and film in conversation with political theory. Part I: Conversations Concerning Love and Friendship features essays about the philosophical meaning of human connection and affection. Part II: Conversations Between Politics and Poetry looks at the political significance of art, and the ways in which political rule can be understood to be “artistic” or poetic. Part III: Conversations from Tragedy to Comedy considers whether the human need for community is something to be lamented or celebrated. Broad in scope and interdisciplinary in approach, the essays in this volume address authors such as Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Machiavelli, Mary Wollstonecraft, G.W.F. Hegel, Jane Austen, Henry James, William Faulkner, Albert Camus, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, as well as the films of Woody Allen and Whit Stillman.
Matthew D. Dinan is assistant professor in the great books program at St. Thomas University.
Natalie Taylor is associate professor of political science at Skidmore College.
Denise Schaeffer is professor of political Science at the College of the Holy Cross.
Paul E. Kirkland is associate professor of political science and great ideas at Carthage College.
Chapter 1 The Good, Truth, and Friendship in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics
Stephen Block and Patrick Cain
Chapter2: Friendship and the Solitude of Greatness: The Case of Charles de Gaulle
Chapter 3: Love and Friendship in Henry James’s The Bostonians
Lisa Pace Vetter
Chapter 4: Whit Woody Barcelona: Love and Friendship in Whit Stillman’s Barcelona and Woody Allen’s Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona
Ann Ward and Lee Ward
Paul E. Kirkland
Chapter 7: Reading Tolkien through the Lens of Solzhenitsyn’s Analysis of Ideology:
On Art, Responsibility, and Progress
Germaine Paulo Walsh
Chapter 8: Social Dance in the Films of Whit Stillman
Carl Eric Scott
Part III – Conversations From Tragedy to Comedy
Chapter 10: A Vindication of Novels: Jane Austen’s Conversation with Mary Wollstonecraft
Natalie Fuehrer Taylor
Chapter 11: From Tragedy to Love: Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale
Chapter 12: The Tragic and the Equitable in Aristotle’s Poetics and Ethics
“Politics, Literature & Film in Conversation consists of twelve tributes to a teacher for whom teaching how to read with depth and care proves inseparable from caring deeply about those she teaches. Each contribution stands as an example of a thought central in the life and work of Mary Nichols—that philosophy, while extraordinary, must be embedded in, and inseparable from, the ordinary. These beautifully written chapters indicate just how successful she has been as a scholar, a teacher, and a friend. “
"A delightful collection of stimulating essays, ranging from Plato and Aristotle, Shakespeare and Jane Austen, to Whit Stillman and Woody Allen, among others. With these insightful readings, on themes of love and friendship, politics and poetry, tragedy and comedy, students of Mary Nichols pay tribute to a teacher whose deep influence has fostered thoughtful originality."
The reader is left to discover the many ways in which Nichols’ is honored. That the editors and authors trust the reader to do so seems a proper way of honoring Nichols’ scholarship and career.