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Nuttall (English, Oxford Univ.; A Common Sky: Philosophy and the Literary Imagination) focuses on the totality of William Shakespeare's genius rather than on his individual plays. Within each play, he concentrates on one or two philosophically significant topics, then traces Shakespeare's development of the topic through the course of several plays. The subjects he discusses are weighty, e.g., how people are motivated to action, how language can be used to clarify or obfuscate, and the effects of conflict between male bonding and heterosexual love. Often, the topics are related only peripherally to the play's central plot, and Nuttall shows how Shakespeare used them to add richness and depth to his dramas. While there are many books discussing Shakespeare's philosophy, this text will be in demand because of Nuttall's reputation as a scholar and author. Recommended for academic libraries supporting advanced studies in Shakespeare.
—Shana C. Fair