The Science of Shakespeare

Portrait of William Shakespeare engraved by Martin Droeshout.

Portrait of William Shakespeare engraved by Martin Droeshout.


William Shakespeare was born 450 years ago this month, into a period when new ideas about the human body, the earth and the universe were threatening the old medieval worldview. Journalist and author Dan Falk examines the science of the Bard of Avon.

Dan Falk's latest book explores these issues further; it's called The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright's Universe (St. Martin's Press / Goose Lane, 2014).

Participants in the program:

Colin McGinn, philosopher (University of Miami, retired)

Scott Maisano, Professor of English (University of Massachusetts - Boston)

Peter Usher, Professor of Astronomy (Pennsylvania State University, retired)

John Pitcher, Professor of English (Oxford University)

Eric Mallin, Professor of English (University of Texas - Austin)

Stephen Greenblatt, Professor of English (Harvard University)

Reading List:

Shakespeare's Philosophy: Discovering the Meaning Behind the Plays, by Colin McGinn.
Published by Harper Perennial, 2008.

Godless Shakespeare
, by Eric Mallin. Published by Bloomsbury Academic, 2007.

Shakespeare and the Dawn of Modern Science, by Peter Usher. Published by Cambria Press, 2010.

Will in the World: How Shakespeare became Shakespeare, by Stephen Greenblatt. Published by WW Norton, 2005.

Cymbeline / New Penguin Shakespeare, by John Pitcher.

Audio excerpts featured in the program:

The Shakespeare excerpts heard in the program are from the Arkangel complete Shakespeare edition on CD, and from the BBC complete Shakespeare edition on DVD.

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