Description : Animals, as Lévi-Strauss wrote, are good to think with. This collection addresses and reassesses the variety of ways in which animals were used and thought about in Renaissance culture, challenging contemporary as well as historic views of the boundaries and hierarchies humans presume the natural world to contain. Taking as its starting point the popularity of speaking animals in sixteenth-century literature and ending with the decline of the imperial Ménagerie during the French Revolution, Renaissance Beasts uses the lens of human-animal relationships to view issues as diverse as human status and power, diet, civilization and the political life, religion and anthropocentrism, spectacle and entertainment, language, science and skepticism, and domestic and courtly cultures. Within these pages scholars from a variety of disciplines discuss numerous kinds of texts--literary, dramatic, philosophical, religious, political--by writers including Calvin, Montaigne, Sidney, Shakespeare, Descartes, Boyle, and Locke. Through analysis of these and other writers, Renaissance Beasts uncovers new and arresting interpretations of Renaissance culture and the broader social assumptions glimpsed through views on matters such as pet ownership and meat consumption. Renaissance Beasts is certainly about animals, but of the many species discussed, it is ultimately humankind that comes under the greatest scrutiny.
Description : Constructing 'Monsters' in Shakespearean Drama and Early Modern Culture argues for the crucial place of the 'monster' in the early modern imagination. Burnett traces the metaphorical significance of 'monstrous' forms across a range of early modern exhibition spaces - fairground displays, 'cabinets of curiosity' and court entertainments - to contend that the 'monster' finds its most intriguing manifestation in the investments and practices of contemporary theatre. The study's new readings of Shakespeare, Marlowe and Jonson make a powerful case for the drama's contribution to debates about the 'extraordinary body'.
Description : Shakespeare Among the Animals examines the role of animal-metaphor in the Shakespeare stage, particularly as such metaphor serves to underwrite various forms of social difference. Working through texts such as Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream , Jonson's Volpone , and Middleton's A Chaste Maid in Cheapside , different chapters of the study focus upon the allegedly natural character of femininity, masculinity, and ethnicity, while a fourth chapter considers the nature of the natural world itself as it appears on the Renaissance stage. Addressing each of these topics in turn, Shakespeare Among the Animals explores the notions of cultural order that underlie early modern conceptions of the natural world, and the ideas of nature implicit in early modern social practice.
Description : David Margolies provides a new and accessible way for teachers and students of Shakespeare to understand the immediacy of the plays for a contemporary audience.
Description : This engaging book provides in-depth discussion of the various influences that an audience in 1607 would have brought to interpreting ‘Antony and Cleopatra’. How did people think about the world, about God, about sin, about kings, about civilized conduct? Learn about the social hierarchy, gender relationships, court corruption, class tensions, the literary profile of the time, the concept of tragedy – and all the subversions, transgressions, and oppositions that made the play an unsettling picture of a disintegrating world lost through passion and machination.
Description : Shakespeare was neither a Royalist defender of order and hierarchy nor a consistently radical champion of social equality, but rather simultaneously radical and conservative as a critic of emerging forms of modernity. Hugh Grady argues that Shakespeare's social criticism in fact often parallels that of critics of modernity from our own Postmodernist era. Thus the broad analysis of modernity produced by Marx, Horkheimer and Adorno, Foucault, and others can serve to illuminate Shakespeare's own depiction of an emerging modernity - a depiction epitomized by the image in Troilus and Cressida of 'an universal wolf' of appetite, power, and will. The readings of Troilus and Cressida, Othello, King Lear, and As You Like It in Shakespeare's Universal Wolf demonstrate Shakespeare's keen interest in what twentieth-century theory has called 'reification' - a term which designates social systems created by human societies but which confront those societies as operating beyond human control, according to an autonomous 'systems' logic - in nascent mercantile capitalism, in power-oriented Machiavellian politics, and in the scientistic, value-free rationality which Horkheimer and Adorno call 'instrumental reason'.
Description : "I love you according to my bond," says Cordelia to her father in King Lear. As the play turns out, Cordelia proves to be an exemplary and loving daughter. A bond is both a legal or financial obligation, and a connection of mutual love. How are these things connected? In As You Like It, Shakespeare describes marriage as a "blessed bond of board and bed": the emotional, religious, and sexual sides of marriage cannot be detached from its status as a legal and economic contract. These examples are the pith of Frederick Turner's fascinating new book. Based on the proven maxim that "money makes the world go round," this engaging study draws from Shakespeare's texts to present a lexicon of common words, as well as a variety of familiar familial and cultural situations, in an economic context. Making constant recourse to well-known material from Shakespeare's plays, Turner demonstrates that the terms of money and value permeate our minds and lives even in our most mundane moments. His book offers a new, humane, evolutionary economics that fully expresses the moral, spiritual, and aesthetic relationships among persons, and between humans and nature. Playful and incisive, Turner's book offers a way to engage the wisdom of Shakespeare in everyday life in a trenchant prose that is accessible to lovers of Shakespeare at all levels.