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Shakespeare's Double Helix

Shakespeare's Double Helix
Your Price: $25.95 CDN
Author: Henry S. Turner
Publisher: Continuum
Series: Shakespeare Now!
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 130
Pub. Date: 2007
ISBN-10: 0826491200
ISBN-13: 9780826491206

About the Book:

Using A Midsummer Night's Dream as a case study, Shakespeare's Double Helix draws together questions of early science, examining the way literature and Renaissance theatre, a new technology itself, were used to illustrate and discuss new developments.

What does it mean to make life? Shakespeare's Double Helix focuses on one of the key questions for culture and science in both Shakespeare's time and our own. Shakespeare wrote A Midsummer Night's Dream during a period when the 'new science' had begun to unsettle the foundations of knowledge about the natural world. Through close analysis of the play and reflection on modern genetic engineering, Henry S. Turner examines developments in early modern culture as it sought to come to terms with the new forces of magic, astrology, alchemy and mechanics — fields of knowledge that preoccupied the most adventurous intellects of Shakespeare's period and that promised limitless power over nature. Shakespeare's writing sheds light on current developments in science, ethics, law, and religion in contemporary culture.

Shakespeare's Double Helix reveals the richness and peculiarity of early scientific thought in Shakespeare's time and shows how the questions he poses remain fundamental as the nature of 'life' has become one of the most pressing political, ethical, and philosophical problems for society today.

What people say:

"The conjoined pieces of Turner's book provide a fresh double reading of A Midsummer Night's dream. The book's imbricated left face/right face presentation makes every page mirror, echo or pre-empt themes from the opposite essay. In this year of Darwin's birth, the Globe Theatre's 2009 takes A Midsummer Night's dream on a national tour. Shakespeare Now! seems thus doubtly apt.." — Flux Magazine

"…both an eye-catching attempt to assert Shakespearean contemporaneity and a genuine reflection of aspects of the volume's content…has a definite novelty value in the context of Shakespearean criticism, and it is raised above the merely gimmicky here by the highly apposite image that Turner finds for his title…a very readable, clear and informative quick overview of the development of modern genetic research…there is much interesting and stimulating comment in Turner's study, and the book itself ins undeniably memorable and thought-provoking." — Oxford Journals Clippings: The Year's Work in English Studies

"In Turner's text past, present and the ‘posthuman future' come together and Francis Bacon, Philip Sydney, and Bottom rub shoulders playfully with Richard Dawkins, Roland Barthes, and Puck." — English

About the Author:

Henry S. Turner is an associate professor of English at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, where he specializes in English Renaissance drama, the history of science, and the history of philosophy and literary theory. His book Shakespeare's Double Helix places a close reading of A Midsummer Night's Dream alongside discussions of Renaissance occult philosophy, the history of mimesis, the use of models in experimental science, and definitions of the human in Renaissance poetics and in today's genetic engineering.