The critically acclaimed exploration of the beginnings of the Scientific Revolution is now available in a trade paperback edition. A synthesis of history, science, and literature, The Science of Shakespeare explores the connections between the famous playwright and emerging ideas about the universe — and how, together, they changed the world forever.
William Shakespeare lived at a remarkable time — a period we now recognize as the first phase of the Scientific Revolution. New ideas were transforming European thought, the medieval was giving way to the modern, and the work of a few key figures hinted at the brave new world to come: the methodical and rational Galileo, the skeptical Montaigne, and — as Falk convincingly argues — Shakespeare, who observed human nature just as intently as the astronomers who studied the night sky.
In The Science of Shakespeare, we meet a colourful cast of Renaissance thinkers, including Thomas Digges, who published the first English account of the "new astronomy" and lived in the same neighborhood as Shakespeare; Thomas Harriot — "England's Galileo" — who aimed a telescope at the night sky months ahead of his Italian counterpart; Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, whose observatory-castle stood within sight of Elsinore; and Galileo himself.
"Dan Falk has written another splendid book. After Universe on a T-Shirt and In Search of Time, he moves back four centures to the science of Shakespeare's day. Falk sheds enormous light on the Elizabethan outlook and particular puzzles in the plays, all the while entertaining us in a most engaging way."
"Dan Falk's book provides perhaps the best guide to the scientific worldview prevailing in the Elizabethan Age. We learn, for example, about what Giordano Bruno did while in England, about Thomas Harriot's telescopic view of the Moon's surface drawn some months before Galileo's, and of the appearance of atoms in several of Shakespeare's plays. Falk's narrative voice is smooth, reasonable, likable."
"There is science in everything, even the works of the immortal Bard. Dan Falk's rich and fascinating book brings to light the many ways in which Shakespeare and science influenced each other, from telescopes to blood-letting. A great read for anyone who enjoys words and ideas."
"Falk paints an absorbing picture of the world in which Shakespeare moved."
"An engaging tour guide, Dan Falk takes us on a merry romp through Shakespeare's folio, revealing how the Bard might have been influenced by the Renaissance in science going on all about him. An absorbing, new perspective on the scientific revelations of the Elizabethan world."
"Author! Author! Dan Falk is the finest science writer working today. This fabulous book will give equal joy to fans of the Bard and to history-of-science buffs. Note to Horatio: Read this — it'll bring you up to speed."
"Readers will thank Falk for putting Shakespeare and Galileo on the same well-illuminated world stage."
"In this thought-provoking book, Dan Falk explores the intriguing connections between the Bard's writings and the dramatic scientific discoveries of the late Renaissance, introducing us to a fascinating cast of characters along the way."