By Timothy Baker Shutt; Recorded Books, Inc

The Odyssey of the West sequence addresses in chronological series the works that experience formed the continuing improvement of Western idea either in its personal correct and in cultural discussion with different traditions. half 4 offers a detailed examine the interval from the Renaissance to the clinical revolution and into the early Enlightenment. those lectures soak up the tremendous style and singular achievements that have Read more...

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Thank heaven—or thank ourselves—we have long since said goodbye to all that save in the most regressive circles. For most Western history, however, the default assumption in this regard was precisely contrary to our own. The general assumption was that things have gotten worse and are still trailing downward. Once we lived in paradise; there was once a golden age, and we are not the people our parents or our grandparents were. And in truth, it is not easy to discern any unilateral or unambiguous human progress in any area save the natural sciences, technology, and medicine.

Soon enough the Portuguese had trading connections all the way to what is now Indonesia. They were also determined traders in gold and slaves along the West African coast, and in the course of their outgoing eastward sweeps around the Cape, they had by 1500 discovered what is now Brazil. It was likewise a Portuguese mariner serving on behalf of Castile and Spain who led the first expedition around the world, beginning in 1519 and reaching the Spice Islands at last late in 1521, though Fernão de Magalhães, better known to speakers of English as Magellan, was himself killed in the Philippines.

As it happens, some such impulse seems to be at work in The Tempest as well. For on one major level at least, The Tempest seems to be a sort of “anti-tragedy,” a play about how to recover from tragedy, and that is a theme in which, on the face of it, pretty much any audience might wish to participate, symbolically or otherwise. Before proceeding further, though, we need to look at a rather different interpretation of The Tempest that addresses different concerns and which focuses on different sorts of energies, a theme, which taken as the keynote of the play, I consider seriously misleading, but which, even so, for a variety of reasons, attained a prominence amounting to domination among latetwentieth-century critics.

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