Faith in Shakespeare

Author: Richard C. McCoy

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190218657

Category: Drama

Page: 194

View: 9101

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Speculation about Shakespeare's own religious beliefs and responses to the Reformation have dominated discussions of faith in the playwright's work for decades. As a result, we often lose sight of what's truly important-the plays themselves. By focusing on those plays in several succinct, fluently written chapters, Richard McCoy reminds us of the spell-binding power inherent in works like Othello, As You Like It, and The Winter's Tale and shows why they continue to cause audiences to gladly exercise what Samuel Taylor Coleridge called the "willing suspension of disbelief." Faith in Shakespeare ruminates on what it means to believe in the Bard's plays, exploring how their plots can be both preposterous and gripping, and how their characters seem more substantial and enduring than the people surrounding us in the theater. Informed by Coleridge's "poetic faith," the book discusses what this concept shares with religious faith and how it departs from recent historicist approaches to the dramatist's work. Faith in Shakespeare concentrates more on text than context, finding the afterlife of Shakespeare's language more vivid and engaging than theological controversies. The book confirms its convictions in literature's intrinsic powers by exploring the causes for our paradoxical belief in theater's potent but manifest illusions. Plays that ask their audience to "awake your faith" or "believe then, if you please" ultimately enable us to "mind true things by what their mockeries be." Rather than faith in God or the supernatural, McCoy argues that faith in Shakespeare is sustained and explained only by the complex, subtle, and entirely human power of poetic eloquence and dramatic performance.

Faith and Folly in Shakespeare's Romantic Comedies

Author: R. Chris Hassel, Jr.

Publisher: University of Georgia Press

ISBN: 0820338532

Category: Religion

Page: 272

View: 3724

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An enduring debate among scholars has focused on the degree to which Shakespeare's plays are indebted to the Christian culture in which they were created and the manner of demonstrating that indebtedness. R. Chris Hassel, Jr. points out informed allusions to familiar Pauline and Erasmian Christian passages and themes present in Love's Labor's Lost, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado about Nothing, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, and The Merchant of Venice. He argues that not only did Shakespeare's audience understand these allusions but also that these allusions led the audience to recognize their pertinence to the playwright's uniquely Christian comic vision. Furthermore, Hassel feels this understanding of the relationship between Shakespeare's comic artistry and Christianity leads to a greater appreciation of the plays.

Believing in Shakespeare

Studies in Longing

Author: Claire McEachern

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1108397077

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: N.A

View: 3983

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This ground breaking and accessible study explores the connections between the English Reformation's impact on the belief in eternal salvation and how it affected ways of believing in the plays of Shakespeare. Claire McEachern examines the new and better faith that Protestantism imagined for itself, a faith in which scepticism did not erode belief, but worked to substantiate it in ways that were both affectively positive and empirically positivist. Concluding with in-depth readings of Richard II, King Lear and The Tempest, the book represents a markedly fresh intervention in the topic of Shakespeare and religion. With great originality, McEachern argues that the English reception of the Calvinist imperative to 'know with' God allowed the very nature of literary involvement to change, transforming feeling for a character into feeling with one.

Shakespeare's Hybrid Faith

History, Religion and the Stage

Author: J. Mayer

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 0230595898

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 235

View: 6878

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This book throws new light on the issue of the dramatist's religious orientation by dismissing sectarian and one-sided theories, tackling the problem from the angle of the variegated Elizabethan context recently uncovered by modern historians and theatre scholars. It is argued that faith was a quest rather than a quiet certainty for the playwright.

Shakespeare and Early Modern Religion

Author: David Loewenstein,Michael Witmore

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1316239810

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: N.A

View: 3585

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Written by an international team of literary scholars and historians, this collaborative volume illuminates the diversity of early modern religious beliefs and practices in Shakespeare's England, and considers how religious culture is imaginatively reanimated in Shakespeare's plays. Fourteen new essays explore the creative ways Shakespeare engaged with the multifaceted dimensions of Protestantism, Catholicism, non-Christian religions including Judaism and Islam, and secular perspectives, considering plays such as Hamlet, Julius Caesar, King John, King Lear, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Winter's Tale. The collection is of great interest to readers of Shakespeare studies, early modern literature, religious studies, and early modern history.

The Bible in Shakespeare

Author: Hannibal Hamlin

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199677611

Category: Drama

Page: 378

View: 7416

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"This book is about allusions to the Bible in Shakespeare's plays. It argues that such allusions are frequent, deliberate, and significant, and that the study of these allusions is repaid by a deeper understanding of the plays." - Introduction.

Through Shakespeare's Eyes

Seeing the Catholic Presence in the Plays

Author: Joseph Pearce

Publisher: Ignatius Press

ISBN: 1681495937

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 225

View: 7681

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Fulfilling the promise he made in his previous book, The Quest for Shakespeare, bestselling literary writer Joseph Pearce analyzes in this volume three of Shakespeare's immortal plays — The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet and King Lear — in order to uncover the Bard's Catholic beliefs. In The Quest for Shakespeare, which has been made into an EWTN television series, Pearce delved into the known biographical evidence for Shakespeare's Catholicism. Here the popular and provocative author digs into the plays, which were written and first performed during the English crown's persecution of Catholics. English history and literature were taught for generations through the prism of English Protestantism. Of late both of these fields have been dominated in universities and academic presses by modern scholars with filters and interpretations of their own. Though the evidence for Shakespeare's Catholicism has been studied before now, thanks, in part, to the unique contribution of Joseph Pearce, the Bard's genius is being analyzed in the open air of the public arena, the very place where Shakespeare intended his dramas to entertain and edify.

Shakespeare, the Earl, and the Jesuit

Author: John Klause

Publisher: Associated University Presse

ISBN: 9780838641378

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 339

View: 1956

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The name of the Jesuit Robert Southwell has been linked with Shakespeare's, but vaguely and tentatively. The name of Henry Wriothesley, 3rd earl of Southampton, has perennially been linked with Shakespeare's. This book offers reasons for believing in a relationship among these 3 men, who were kinsmen as their contemporaries understood the term.

A Search for Meaning

Critical Essays on Early Modern Literature

Author: Paula Harms Payne

Publisher: Peter Lang

ISBN: 9780820471129

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 159

View: 3309

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In its exploration of drama, poetry, and prose, this collection of nine essays invites students, teachers, and scholars to rethink their evaluations of Shakespeare, Milton, Sidney, Jonson, and other British writers of the Early Modern period. Using a formalist approach, " A Search for Meaning" establishes new critical perspectives that are dependent on close readings of the text and current secondary research and which carefully consider reader's reactions.

Shakespeare's Common Prayers

The Book of Common Prayer and the Elizabethan Age

Author: Daniel Swift

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199977038

Category: History

Page: 304

View: 1108

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Societies and entire nations draw their identities from certain founding documents, whether charters, declarations, or manifestos. The Book of Common Prayer figures as one of the most crucial in the history of the English-speaking peoples. First published in 1549 to make accessible the devotional language of the late Henry the VIII's new church, the prayer book was a work of monumental religious, political, and cultural importance. Within its rituals, prescriptions, proscriptions, and expressions were fought the religious wars of the age of Shakespeare. This diminutive book--continuously reformed and revised--was how that age defined itself. In Shakespeare's Common Prayers, Daniel Swift makes dazzling and original use of this foundational text, employing it as an entry-point into the works of England's most celebrated writer. Though commonly neglected as a source for Shakespeare's work, Swift persuasively and conclusively argues that the Book of Common Prayer was absolutely essential to the playwright. It was in the Book's ambiguities and its fierce contestations that Shakespeare found the ready elements of drama: dispute over words and their practical consequences, hope for sanctification tempered by fear of simple meaninglessness, and the demand for improvised performance as compensation for the failure of language to fulfill its promises. What emerges is nothing less than a portrait of Shakespeare at work: absorbing, manipulating, reforming, and struggling with the explosive chemistry of word and action that comprised early modern liturgy. Swift argues that the Book of Common Prayer mediates between the secular and the devotional, producing a tension that makes Shakespeare's plays so powerful and exceptional. Tracing the prayer book's lines and motions through As You Like It, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Othello, and particularly Macbeth, Swift reveals how the greatest writer of the age--of perhaps any age--was influenced and guided by its most important book.

The Heart of His Mystery

Shakespeare and the Catholic Faith in England Under Elizabeth and James

Author: Waterfield John Waterfield,John Waterfield

Publisher: iUniverse

ISBN: 1440143439

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 682

View: 2038

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Shakespeare has traditionally been viewed as Queen Elizabeth's 'poet laureate', and as the official mouthpiece of the Elizabethan age. But the Elizabethan world was torn apart by the religious divisions initiated by the Reformation, and vitiated by the government's merciless persecution of Catholics. As it was the victors who wrote the history, the English Reformation has been portrayed as a peaceful transition enjoying majority support, when in fact it was nothing of the kind. Elizabeth's regime was a police state which sanctioned the use of torture, where Catholic priests and those who harboured them were liable to summary and bloody execution. The persecution of Catholics was continued by James I, evoking the violent response of the Gunpowder Plot. "The Heart of His Mystery" examines Shakespeare's life and work against this background. There is strong biographical evidence that he was himself a Catholic, and a detailed survey of his plays and poems shows that his imagination was intimately bound up with his religious faith. When we realise that his human compassion grew from his membership in a persecuted community, we can glimpse the mystery he has encrypted in his works and we come closer to understanding the hidden heart of Shakespeare the man.

Shakespeare's Flowers

Author: Jessica Kerr

Publisher: Big Earth Publishing

ISBN: 9781555662028

Category: Nature

Page: 85

View: 809

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Color illustrations accompany quotations from twenty-four Shakespearean dramas about twenty-seven flowers. Explains what each flower meant in Elizabethan times and Shakespeare's particular use of it in his plays.

Emblems in Shakespeare's Last Plays

Author: Kwang Soon Cho

Publisher: University Press of Amer

ISBN: N.A

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 169

View: 1356

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The purpose of this study is to examine emblems in Shakespeare's last plays Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, The Tempest, and Henry VIII. Emblems serve two purposes. First, the structure of emblems contributes to the playwright's experiment with emblematic modes of representation and also depends on the correlational relationship between the picture and the epigram in an emblem. Second, emblems assist the playwright in communicating moral and philosophical ideas to the audience. In the last plays, morals lurk behind allegorical or symbolic emblems. Through emblems the playwright addresses important moral, philosophical, and political questions such as fate and providence, reason and passion, faith, time, and divine right. A full understanding of the last plays as a whole is difficult without a knowledge of emblems in relation to the plays' structures and morals. This study approaches the last plays from this perspective."

Male Friendship and Testimonies of Love in Shakespeare’s England

Author: Will Tosh

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 1137494972

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 211

View: 8171

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Male Friendship and Testimonies of Love in Shakespeare’s England reveals the complex and unfamiliar forms of friendship that existed between men in the late sixteenth century. Using the unpublished letter archive of the Elizabethan spy Anthony Bacon (1558-1601), it shows how Bacon negotiated a path through life that relied on the support of his friends, rather than the advantages and status that came with marriage. Through a set of case-studies focusing on the Inns of Court, the prison, the aristocratic great house and the spiritual connection between young and ardent Protestants, this book argues that the ‘friendship spaces’ of early modern England permitted the expression of male same-sex intimacy to a greater extent than has previously been acknowledged.

Religion Around Shakespeare

Author: Peter Iver Kaufman

Publisher: Penn State Press

ISBN: 0271063408

Category: Religion

Page: 264

View: 2195

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For years scholars and others have been trying to out Shakespeare as an ardent Calvinist, a crypto-Catholic, a Puritan-baiter, a secularist, or a devotee of some hybrid faith. In Religion Around Shakespeare, Peter Kaufman sets aside such speculation in favor of considering the historical and religious context surrounding his work. Employing extensive archival research, he aims to assist literary historians who probe the religious discourses, characters, and events that seem to have found places in Shakespeare’s plays and to aid general readers or playgoers developing an interest in the plays’ and playwright’s religious contexts: Catholic, conformist, and reformist. Kaufman argues that sermons preached around Shakespeare and conflicts that left their marks on literature, law, municipal chronicles, and vestry minutes enlivened the world in which (and with which) he worked and can enrich our understanding of the playwright and his plays.

Shakespeare Survey

Author: Stanley Wells

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521523776

Category: Drama

Page: 272

View: 3016

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The first fifty volumes of this yearbook of Shakespeare studies are being reissued in paperback.