GEORGINA FERRY has impeccable credentials as both a science and a Shakespeare buff. Having established herself as a science journalist through writing in New Scientist magazine and broadcasting on BBC Radio, she is today better known for her popular science books and scientific biographies (DOROTHY HODGKIN: A Life; THE COMMON THREAD: A Story of Science, Politics, Ethics and the Human Genome; A COMPUTER CALLED LEO: Lyons Teashops and the World’s First Office Computer; and MAX PERUTZ AND THE SECRET OF LIFE) and her articles on science and culture in the Guardian and Nature. On the theatre side, she is a founder member of the Abbey Shakespeare Players, who have performed each August for 23 years to sellout audiences in St Dogmaels Abbey, Pembrokeshire. In this capacity she has played roles from Miranda in The Tempest to Cerimon in Pericles, and directed productions of Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing and Henry IV Part I and Part II. She lives in Oxford.
Short and entertaining, ROUGH MAGIC is intended as much for people interested in science as for those interested in Shakespeare. In it, the acclaimed science writer and theatre aficionado Georgina Ferry uses the works of Shakespeare to illustrate our understanding of life and the Universe on the eve of the scientific revolution. It is a book about science, but also about magic and religious belief, common sense and superstition. With Shakespeare’s help, she shows how our view of the material world has been transformed since his time, and asks whether we ourselves have changed, too.
The last time anything similar was attempted was Cumberland Clark’s 1929 book Shakespeare and Science, since when there has been a great deal more Shakespeare scholarship, and some fascinating studies of the science of the Elizabethan/Jacobean period.
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