Science and Technology

Adam Max Cohen

in The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199566105
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Science and Technology

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A careful historical and artefactual study of the Elizabethan–Jacobean period yields evidence that the period experienced a multifaceted technology boom. This article suggests that Shakespeare's plays reflect the fact that Englishmen held a wide variety of views regarding revolutionary technologies, ranging from enthusiastic embrace to grudging acceptance to occasional suspicion to the firm conviction that certain tools, inventions, and machines were instruments of the devil. In an attempt to make sense of these strange new artefacts and practices, authors such as Shakespeare often depicted them in human terms, and they also described human beings themselves as technologies. Ambivalence regarding technology's impact on the self and society seems only to have intensified during the Tudor industrial revolution.

Keywords: Elizabethan–Jacobean period; revolutionary technologies; Shakespeare's plays; Tudor industrial revolution

Article.  7877 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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