New PDF release: A Will to Believe: Shakespeare and Religion

By David Scott Kastan

ISBN-10: 0191004294

ISBN-13: 9780191004292

'A Will to think' is a revised model of Kastan's 2008 'Oxford Wells Shakespeare Lectures', offering a provocative account of the ways that faith animates Shakespeare's plays.

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A Will to think is a revised model of Kastan's 2008 Oxford Wells Shakespeare Lectures, delivering a provocative account of the ways that faith animates Shakespeare's plays. Read more...

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Additional resources for A Will to Believe: Shakespeare and Religion

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OUP CORRECTED PROOF – FINAL, 11/08/2013, SPi 32 Shakespeare’s Religion The extraordinary range of human emotion, thought, and experience that Shakespeare portrays, embedded in language almost uniquely interpretable, would allow almost anything to be claimed for Shakespeare himself. Indeed almost everything has been claimed about him—in terms of his occupational history, sexual orientation, political commitments, personality, as well as his religious beliefs. The limitations of taking what characters say as evidence of what Shakespeare personally felt, thought, or experienced (as opposed to what Shakespeare understood as what human beings might plausibly feel, think, or experience) must be obvious enough.

But bibles for most people were merely bibles. 67 Shakespeare at times quotes from a Bishops’ translation, remembers psalms as they were translated in the Great Bible, follows the Geneva wording, and on a few occasions seems to be thinking of the Counter-Reformation Rheims version, as in Parolles’s invocation of the “the house with the narrow gate . . ”68 Even in a single play, Shakespeare remembers different translations. ” What, however, does this tell us (at least about Shakespeare) beyond the fact that he was familiar with the English Bible in various versions?

25 Nonetheless, John Shakespeare might have tried to conceal his faith. 26 Might it have been both in John Shakespeare’s case? All we know for sure is that he did not attend church regularly; why he didn’t can only be conjectural. ” Allegedly found in 1757 among the roof-tiles in the Shakespeare family house on Henley Street in Stratford by a bricklayer, Joseph Moseley, the pamphlet is a Catholic profession of faith in fourteen articles attested to by John Shakespeare. 28 In the testament, John Shakespeare pledges his faith to the “Catholic, Roman, and Apostolic Church,” offers a prayer to be delivered from the “pains and torments” of purgatory, and appoints “the glorious and ever Virgin Mary,” along with St Winifred, as “chief Executress” of the will.

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A Will to Believe: Shakespeare and Religion by David Scott Kastan


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