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Holding a Mirror up to Nature: Shame, Guilt, and Violence in Shakespeare


  • By James Gilligan and David A.J. Richards
  • Narrated by James Gilligan, John Douglas Thompson, Nigel Gore, Tod Randolph
  • Audiobook • 07 hrs 47 min

At a time when violence in America and Europe dominates the daily news, a groundbreaking new book co-authored by James Gilligan, an eminent psychiatrist who has worked with criminals, and David A.J. Richards, a legal scholar of toxic patriarchy, illuminates the ways in which Shakespeare offers unique insights into the causes of violence as well as its prevention.

Now a riveting new audio production, Holding a Mirror Up to Nature: Shame, Guilt, and Violence in Shakespeare takes advantage of scenes performed by acclaimed actors to dramatize how much Shakespeare’s tragic heroes exhibit the psychology of those who commit violence in the contemporary world.

The voice of British-American actor John Douglas Thompson called “perhaps the greatest Shakespeare interpreter in contemporary theater,” together with women’s parts spoken by Shakespeare & Company’s distinguished Tod Randolph, and narration by award-winning theater star Nigel Gore, orchestrate this tour de force audiobook that belongs in the listening library of everyone who loves Shakespeare and is curious about what causes and what prevents violence.


Author: James Gilligan and David A.J. Richards

Length: 07 hrs 47 min

Release Date:

ISBN: 978-1-950144-79-2

Explicit Content:

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Understanding Violence

Welcome to the Understanding Violence store. We hope you will consider purchasing the audiobook version of Holding a Mirror up to Nature: Shame, Guilt and Violence in Shakespeare by James Gilligan and David A.J. Richards originally published as a book by Cambridge University Press. The authors "brilliantly explore how Shakespeare’s plays are among the most insightful sources for understanding human nature and human psychology…(enabling) us to understand not only what causes violence, but also how to prevent it," writes Bessel van der Kolk, bestselling author of The Body Keeps the Score. The audiobook features John Douglas Thompson whom The New York Times called “perhaps the greatest Shakespeare interpreter in contemporary theater," Nigel Gore, and Tod Randolph. It is intended for everyone who loves Shakespeare and is curious about what causes and what prevents violence. You can visit our website: for more information about the authors and the book. Thank you for your time and attention. 

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About the Author

James Gilligan, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at New York University, is the author of Violence (1996), Preventing Violence (2001), and Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous than Others (2011), a Times Literary Supplement “Book of the Year,” and co-authored The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump (2016), a New York Times best-seller.

His advice has been sought by President Clinton, Tony Blair, Kofi Annan, the World Health Organization, and the World Court.

David A.J. Richards is Professor of Law at New York University. He is the author of over twenty books, including Free Speech and the Politics of Identity (1999), Disarming Manhood: Roots of Ethical Resistance (2005), The Deepening Darkness: Patriarchy, Resistance, and Democracy’s Future (Cambridge University Press, 2009, with Carol Gilligan), and Why Love Leads to Justice: Love across the Boundaries (Cambridge University Press, 2015).


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