Shakespeare's Ideas: More Things in Heaven and Earth
August 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
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"Bevington's newest book wears its considerable erudition lightly and, for the most part, well. Bevington (Univ. of Chicago) begins by pointing out that one cannot know the thoughts of Shakespeare the man, but that the plays and poems, looked at as a whole, do present a kind of philosophy--one of balance and moderation. Chapters on sex and gender, politics, writing, religion, and other topics all suggest that though Shakespeare created characters with extreme and wide-ranging views, the world of the plays (and thus perhaps of Shakespeare himself) rewards compassion, understanding, forgiveness, duty, and above all, love. In general, this is not a book for scholars; Bevington does not offer highly theoretical readings or bring up scholarly debates about meaning and textuality. But his immense knowledge of the plays and the era allow him to present complex ideas in an engaging, completely readable manner that will appeal to all readers, no matter their background. Though it offers nothing new to those who study the plays for a living, everyone else will find it a masterpiece of thoughtful investigation into the plays." (Choice, February 2009)
"It's an absorbing journey, and one that will fascinate both general readers and serious scholars alike." (Yorkshire Evening Post, October 2008)"Lucid, wise and finely balanced, David Bevington's exploration of the ideas at work in Shakespeare is essential reading for beginners and experts alike."
–Alexander Leggatt, Professor Emeritus of English, University of Toronto
"Shakespeare’s Ideas offers all that we have come to expect of David Bevington. I cannot think of a better, more judicious scholar to guide us through the complexities of Shakespeare’s political and moral philosophy."
–James Schiffer, SUNY New Paltz
"The fruit of a half-century of teaching and thinking with Shakespeare, David Bevington's well-judged and genuinely informative account of Shakespeare's thought demonstrates his trademark circumspection and thoroughgoing sensitivity to the complexity and variety of the plays' questions. Useful no matter what degree your acquaintance with the Bard."
–Claire McEachern, University of California, Los Angeles