According to one of the few half-credible eighteenth-century legends about William Shakespeare, the poet planted a mulberry tree on the grounds of his stately Stratford home New place. In early modern culture, old trees served as venues for imagining intergenerational subjectivity. Human vanity, of course, is the chief reason why mulberry trees were brought to England in the first place. Rather than incriminate Shakespeare as a willing participant in the early anthropocene, the mulberry legend foregrounds a humbling biological fact: trees outlive people. The adoration of Shakespeare’s mulberry also coincided with the mid-eighteenth-century reappraisal of nature and natural religion. The temptation to compare Shakespeare’s mulberry with the “True Cross” is irresistible. Michael Drayton’s antiquarianism, his deep history, fosters a perspective not far removed from deep ecology. Mankind’s tampering with ecology has unleashed invasive species, genetically modified organisms, mass extinction, and global climate change.
|Title of host publication||The Shakespearean International Yearbook|
|Subtitle of host publication||Special Section, Shakespeare and the Human|
|Place of Publication||Abingdon & New York|
|Number of pages||23|
|Publication status||Published - 28 Sep 2015|
|Name||Shakespearean International Yearbook|
Borlik, T. (2015). Plants: Shakespeare’s Mulberry: Eco-materialism and “Living on”. In T. Werth (Ed.), The Shakespearean International Yearbook: Special Section, Shakespeare and the Human (1 ed., Vol. 15, pp. 123-145). (Shakespearean International Yearbook). Abingdon & New York: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315264233-8