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From the Publisher[P]rovides an excellent introduction to the complexities surrounding the topic….[T]he place for students to start their inquiries into the murkiness of religion in Shakespeare's world. For teachers, too, the book affords both useful ways into the topic and a treasure trove of primary materials for supplementing Shakespearean texts in the classroom.
Studies in English Literature
Baker (English, Armstrong Atlantic State U.) provides students and general readers a survey of religious factors at play during Shakespeare's England, especially those that seem to enter into his works. For more advanced scholars and students, he offers a guide to the specialized literature written on particular issues from various critical perspectives. Separate chapters consider his plays as literature and as performance.
SciTech Book News
Very highly recommended reading for both academics and non-specialist general readers, Religion in The Age of Shakespeare….[p]rovides the reader with an informed and informative historical overview and analysis of the major religious contexts and themes as they are found in the mid-17th to early 18th century and reflected in the works of William Shakespeare….Enhanced with extensive pages of primary documents, and extended glossary, a four page bibliography, and a comprehensive index, Religion in the Age of Shakespeare is a much appreciated contribution to the growing library of analytical research and history regarding the 17 century in general, and the works of William Shakespeare in particular.
Filling a scholarly niche, Baker conducts a larger, more comprehensively theological survey of the Shakespearean oeuvre and its religious context than have comparable works….The book assumes no prior knowledge of 16th-century theology or religious controversy, and therefore will be useful and accessible for those new to the subject, yet it manages to survey the relevant analytical categories and sources in a way that will interest more specialized readers. In chapters on religion in Shakespeare's world, in the Shakespearean oeuvre, in the performance of Shakespeare's plays, and in Shakespearean scholarship and criticism, the author succinctly summarizes what is known, debated, or conceivable about the theology in both Shakespeare's age and his works. In 56 supplemental pages, Baker offers primary documents, including excerpts from William Tyndale's New Testament, The Act for Uniformity, the Elizabethan Book of Common Prayer, John Foxe's Actes and Monuments, and the religious poems of Edmund Spenser and John Donne. Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, general readers.