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In The Weeds Podcast with Randall Martin

By Cymbeline Anthropocene on Apr 29, 2021 at 09:06 PM in Fringe Projects

Cymbeline in the Anthropocene's project leader Randall Martin recently guest starred in Nicole Asquith's podcast In the Weeds, which explores human relationships with the environment through our cultivation of plants. In a month full of Cymbeline happenings, Randall takes a detour through a suspiciously English "Athenian" wood to speak about the forests of A Midsummer Night's Dream

In the podcast, Randall illustrates the emerging ecological consciousness that Shakespeare would have grown into, as England began its first major phase of deforestation and industrialization. This early awareness of environmental resources inflects how Shakespeare creates the forest of A Midsummer Night's Dream. It also provides context for what is now known widely as Titania's "climate change" speech, which you may remember from the "Earth's Cry" music video from Shakespeare in Yosemite's Imogen in the Wild soundtrack, featured our last blog post.

The discussion also covers the play's use of identifiable forest flora native to England, how the fairies embody concerns about invasive species and genetic engineering, and how contemporary science may be returning Western culture to a form of ecological animism not unlike that the supernatural understanding of nature that was going out of fashion in Shakespeare's era.

This episode forms part three of a series within the podcast on the fictional forests that shape our ecological imaginations. The same series has also includes episodes on the forests of Dante’s Inferno and Sondheim’s musical Into the Woods, with an upcoming episode about the woods of Toni Morrison’s Beloved.

Click here to read more about In the Weeds's forest series, and click to listen to Randall's episode on the In the Weeds website.