Shakespeare's ocean : an ecocritical exploration /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Brayton, Daniel.
Imprint:Charlottesville : University of Virginia Press, 2012.
Description:1 online resource
Series:Under the sign of nature
Under the sign of nature.
Subject:Shakespeare, William, -- 1564-1616 -- Knowledge -- Natural history.
Shakespeare, William, -- 1564-1616 -- Knowledge -- Natural history.
Shakespeare, William, -- 1564-1616.
Sea in literature.
DRAMA -- Shakespeare.
LITERARY CRITICISM -- European -- English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh.
Natural history.
Sea in literature.
Electronic books.
Electronic books.
Format: E-Resource Book
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Notes:Includes bibliographical references and index.
Summary:"Study of the sea--both in terms of human interaction with it and its literary representation--has been largely ignored by ecocritics. In Shakespeare's Ocean, Dan Brayton foregrounds the maritime dimension of a writer whose plays and poems have had an enormous impact on literary notions of nature and, in so doing, plots a new course for ecocritical scholarship. Shakespeare lived during a time of great expansion of geographical knowledge. The world in which he imagined his plays was newly understood to be a sphere covered with water. In vital readings of works ranging from The Comedy of Errors to the valedictory The Tempest, Brayton demonstrates Shakespeare's remarkable conceptual mastery of the early modern maritime world and reveals a powerful benthic imagination at work."--Project Muse.
Other form:Print version: 9780813932262 0813932262
Review by Choice Review

Ecocriticism is another of those postmodern literary-critical fads that despite achieving institutional dominance continues to imagine itself the perpetual outsider, marginalized by stodgy traditionalist straw men who apparently still dominate the calcified halls of academia. Such posturing allows ecowarriors to benefit from the narrative of victimhood they chronicle, while simultaneously enjoying the privilege and authority of institutional sanction and professional approval. Although moderated somewhat in this study, the book nevertheless suffers from the same tendentious tendencies of the genre. This is not really a study of Shakespeare, nor even of Renaissance culture. Brayton (Middlebury College) offers instead a familiar modern environmental manifesto situated--often loosely--in a variety of early modern texts and concluding with a coda calling for a "terraqueous ecocriticism" to balance the land-bias of "traditional" ecocritics. Thus, even within the marginal hegemonies of ecocriticism, there still exist veritable oceans of neglect. For Brayton, Shakespeare "persistently entertain(s) the idea that we are of the sea, not in the limited political or economic sense ... but at a more global level." Less historical criticism than environmentalist incitement for increased attention to bodies of water, this is a book for the like-minded. Summing Up: Optional. Specialists only. D. Pesta University of Wisconsin--Oshkosh

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review