Jan H. Blits, The Soul of Athens: Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2003)
Summary from the Publisher:
The Soul of Athens: Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” studies Shakespeare’s portrayal of the founding of Athens through a close reading of one of the Bard’s most memorable comedies. Through a painstakingly close reading of the play, author Jan H. Blits shows how Shakespeare’s portrayal of this legendary first democracy illuminates the natural doubleness of the human soul by emphasizing the lure of both beauty and wisdom. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is thus Shakespeare’s examination not only of a particular city at a particular time, but of the essential duality of the human soul. Coupling careful attention to detail with interpretive breadth, The Soul of Athens examines the nature of love, the natural doubleness of human thinking and the ambiguous relation of image and reality, as well as patriarchy and democracy, and heroic and moral virtue.