A Man of Ideas
SHAKESPEARETHE THINKER.By A. D. Nuttall.Yale Univ. Press.428 pp. $30
Shakespeare the Thinker begins and ends with a reminiscence about a meditative walk to the English village of Shottery. Late one afternoon, A. D. Nuttall flees the tedium of the biennial International Shakespeare Conference in Stratford to go off on his own, wandering down a country lane “looking for the boy who would grow up to become the author of Hamlet, King Lear, As You Like It, and all the other amazing plays that bear his name.” The anecdote nicely captures the spirit of the author, a beloved Oxford don who considered himself a maverick, an independent reader impatient with the triviality and dead ends of academic squabbles. Nuttall died suddenly in his rooms at New College this past January, and Shakespeare the Thinker stands as a fitting tribute to his learning, his humane values, and his pedagogical talents.