19 February 2014

Review: Science on Stage by Kirsten Shepherd-Barr

Trade paperback, 271 pages
Published 2006

Acquired and read October 2012
Science on Stage: From Doctor Faustus to Copenhagen
by Kirsten Shepherd-Barr

This book provides a scholarly overview of various and sundry plays that are about science or scientists. Rereading my notes, I wonder if these plays aren't so much about science per se as history; a lot of them are about historical scientists or historical events. I found the discussion of medicine-based plays the most interesting, particularly Shepherd-Barr's reading of Wit, which she argues is about a body being studied the same way literary scholars study text-- thus saying something interesting about the dehumanizing effects of that kind of gaze, on body and text alike. I think the book struggles to have a focused argument about a number of plays that don't really have much in common, but I enjoyed it, and I'd like to check out several of the one plays discussed that I haven't seen.

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