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The Faith of William Shakespeare


The Faith of William Shakespeare

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    Available in PDF Format | The Faith of William Shakespeare.pdf | English
    Graham Holderness(Author)
William Shakespeare stills stands head and shoulders above any other author in the English language, a position that is unlikely ever to change. Yet it is often said that we know very little about him and that applies as much to what he believed as it does to the rest of his biography. Or does it?
In this authoritative new study, Graham Holderness takes us through the context of Shakespeare's life, times of religious and political turmoil, and looks at what we do know of Shakespeare the Anglican. But then he goes beyond that, and mines the plays themselves, not just for the words of the characters, but for the concepts, themes and language which Shakespeare was himself steeped in the language of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.
Considering particularly such plays as Richard ll, Henry V, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Hamlet, Othello, The Tempest and The Winter s Tale, Holderness shows how the ideas of Catholicism come up against those of Luther and Calvin; how Christianity was woven deep into Shakespeare s psyche, and how he brought it again and again to his art.

With a mixture of historical scholarship and careful critical reading, Graham Holdreness makes a very powerful case for seeing Shakespeare as a committed and self-conscious Protestant in his mature works. This crisp and lively essay will challenge a number of popular orthodoxies and will stimulate some fresh readings of the major plays; it makes it harder than ever to think of Shakespeare as indifferent to the great questions of faith. --Dr. Rowan Williams

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3.5 (3207)
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Book details

  • PDF | 240 pages
  • Graham Holderness(Author)
  • Lion Books (18 Nov. 2016)
  • English
  • 5
  • Religion & Spirituality

Review Text

  • By Guest on 18 April 2017

    The writer brings a fresh clarity to Shakespeare with the his insights into the theological background to the period in which he wrote the plays and his own religious practice and familiarity with the 1559 Prayer Book and Bishop's Bible. This all makes more sense of Shakespeare's plots especially in the late Tragedies and Romances in which the key words for the plays are the interplay between Providence and Grace essential to the whole understanding of Shakespeare.

  • By Dr. John Bunyan on 2 December 2016

    This is only an initial response before my reading of the book. Looking at a substantial part of it available freely on line, I happened to notice almost at once the author's words on, I think, page 180 : "Hamlet ...dies, and, in Horatio's mind at least, goes not to any intermediate realm of purgatory, but straight to a Protestant heaven : '...Good night sweet prince : And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest". The author does not realise that these words in fact come from a very Catholic commendation of the soul of the one who has died, found, in one simple form, in the Proposed Prayer Book of 1928, and in various Roman Catholic and Anglican prayer books still. That misinterpretation alone will make me approach this book warily !

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