The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright's Universe by Dan Falk
William Shakespeare lived at a time when the medieval world -- a world of magic, astrology, witchcraft, and superstition of all kinds -- was just beginning to give way to more modern ways of thinking. Shakespeare and Galileo were born in the same year, and new ideas about the human body, the earth, and the universe at large were just starting to transform Western thought. Shakespeare was not a scientist -- the word did not even exist in Elizabethan times -- but a handful of scholars are now examining Shakespeare's interest in the scientific discoveries of his time: what he knew, when he knew it, and how he incorporated that knowledge into his work.
His plays, poems, and sonnets were not "about" science -- but they often reflect scientific ideas, and the more carefully we look at those ideas the better we can appreciate the scope of Shakespeare's achievement. A close reading of Shakespeare's works reveals the depth of his interest in the natural world. Falk examines the world that the playwright and poet lived in, taking a close look at the science of his day -- exploring where and how that knowledge is reflected in Shakespeare's work. He also delves into how other writers and artists of the period were influenced by the revolution in science unfolding around them -- a subject that has received little attention beyond specialized academic works. Throughout the book Falk stops to ask what Shakespeare knew, and how it may have influenced his work.
Goose Lane Editions, 2014.
ISBN: 9780864924186. 364 pp.
Hardcover. Fine in a fine jacket.