Shakespeare and the Nature of Love: Literature, Culture, Evolution
Forker, Charles R., Medieval & Renaissance Drama in England
Shakespeare and the Nature of Love: Literature, Culture, Evolution, by Marcus Nordlund. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 2007. Hardback $59.95, Paperback $27.95.
This in an important, brave, and urgently welcome study, engagingly written and beautifully respectful of both traditional and theory-based commentaries on Shakespeare. Attempting to bridge the widening chasm between "essentialists" (who celebrate a dramatist who was not for an age but for all time) and "constructivists" (who believe that he can be understood only as the product of historically specific social and cultural determinants), Nord-lund grounds his exploration of Shakespeare's treatment of love in "a bio-cultural fusion of evolutionary and cultural/historical explanation" (5). A longstanding humanist tradition in Shakespeare studies, unabashedly subjective in its imaginative responses, has tended to regard Darwin's world-altering discoveries as either irrelevant or hostile to Renaissance high culture, while recent materialist criticism, fearing biology as the enemy of its egalitarian political agenda yet claiming to bring Shakespeare within the ambit of modern sociological and psychological theory, has grossly distorted the bard by presenting him as the embodiment of a false scientism and often as a site for polemically reductive …
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Publication information: Article title: Shakespeare and the Nature of Love: Literature, Culture, Evolution. Contributors: Forker, Charles R. - Author. Journal title: Medieval & Renaissance Drama in England. Volume: 24. Publication date: Annual 2011. Page number: 204+. © Associated University Presses 2007. COPYRIGHT 2011 Gale Group.
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