Shakespeare and the Natural World


Abstract

Exploring the rich range of meanings that Shakespeare finds in the natural world, this book fuses ecocritical approaches to Renaissance literature with recent thinking about the significance of religion in Shakespeare’s plays. MacFaul offers a clear introduction to some of the key problems in Renaissance natural philosophy and their relationship to Reformation theology, with individual chapters focusing on the role of animals in Shakespeare’s universe, the representation of rural life, and the way in which humans’ consumption of natural materials transforms their destinies. These discussions enable powerful new readings of Shakespeare’s plays, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, King Lear, Macbeth, The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, and the history plays. Proposing that Shakespeare’s representation of the relationship between man and nature anticipated that of the Romantics, this volume will interest scholars of Shakespeare studies, Renaissance drama and literature, and ecocritical studies of Shakespeare.

 

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