Paperback: Shakespeare the Thinker, by AD Nuttall

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The Independent Culture

From Ben Jonson to TS Eliot, more purely intellectual writers have judged Shakespeare's "disorderly plenitude" a scandal as well as a wonder. This beguiling book – charmingly written, utterly readable – by the late, great critic takes on the charge that the Bard's mind was a mess, however high his imagination soared. Play by play, Nuttall champions a teasing, nimble pragmatist who exposed the flaws in every limiting system as a "philosopher of human possibility". Even if you overlook its gentle critical polemic (against doctrinaire literary theorists and historicists), the book offers a wise, lucid, reader-friendly guide to the complete works.