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Shakespeare's Nature offers the first sustained account of the impact of the language and practice of husbandry on Shakespeare's work. It shows how the early modern discourse of cultivation changes attitude to the natural world, and traces the interrelationships between the human and the natural worlds in Shakespeare's work through dramatic and poetic models of intervention, management, prudence and profit. Ranging from the Sonnets to The Tempest, the book explains how cultivation of the land responds to and reinforces social welfare, and reveals the extent to which the dominant industry of Shakespeare's time shaped a new language of social relations. Beginning with an examination of the rise in the production of early modern printed husbandry manuals, Shakespeare's Nature draws on the varied fields of economic, agrarian, humanist, Christian and literary studies, showing how the language of husbandry redefined Elizabethan attitudes to both the human and non-human worlds. In a series of close readings of specific plays and poems, this book explains how cultivation forms and develops social and economic value systems, and how the early modern imagination was dependent on metaphors of investment, nurture and growth. By tracing this language of intervention and creation in Shakespeare's work, this book reveals a fundamental discourse in the development of early modern social, political and personal values.
Charlotte Scott, Senior Lecturer in Shakespeare, Goldsmiths' College, University of London
Charlotte Scott is a Senior Lecturer in Shakespeare at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She has written widely on Shakespeare, including Shakespeare and the Idea of the Book (OUP, 2007). She has published many essays on Shakespeare, book history and the natural world. She is currently working on Shakespeare's portrayal of the family and children.