Religion in the Age of Shakespeare

Religion in the Age of Shakespeare

by Christopher Baker
     
 

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Shakespeare's plays were the product of his culture and reflect the daily life of Elizabethans. This book examines the religious background of his works and helps students use his plays to understand religion in Elizabethan England. The initial chapters survey the role of religion in Shakespeare's world. The volume then looks at religion in his plays and how

Overview

Shakespeare's plays were the product of his culture and reflect the daily life of Elizabethans. This book examines the religious background of his works and helps students use his plays to understand religion in Elizabethan England. The initial chapters survey the role of religion in Shakespeare's world. The volume then looks at religion in his plays and how productions from different periods have addressed the religious issues of his drama. A chapter then overviews criticism on Shakespeare and religion, while a selection of primary documents illuminates his religious milieu.

Students often find the Elizabethan world fascinating yet challenging. The same can be said of Shakespeare's plays, which reflect the daily life and concerns of Elizabethan England and grew out of his milieu. Written for students, this book illuminates the religious life of Elizabethan England, promotes a greater understanding of Shakespeare's plays, and uses Shakespeare's works to examine Early Modern religious culture.

The volume begins with a quick overview of the origins of Elizabethan religious traditions, followed by a more detailed consideration of the chief religious beliefs and concerns of Shakespeare's world. It then discusses the role of religion in Shakespeare's plays. This is followed by a look at how various productions have interpreted his religious concerns. A review of criticism on Shakespeare and religion follows, along with a selection of primary documents related to religion in his world. A glossary defines key terms and concepts, and a bibliography cites print and electronic resources for further study. Literature students will welcome this book as a guide to Shakespeare's plays, while history students will value it for using his plays to examine religion in the Early Modern era.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
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. - Choice

[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. - Internet Bookwatch

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313336362
Publisher:
Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
Publication date:
09/30/2007
Series:
Age of Shakespeare Series
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Baker is Professor of English at Armstrong Atlantic State University. He edited Absolutism and the Scientific Revolution, 1600-1720: A Biographical Dictionary (Greenwood, 2002), and his articles have appeared in such journals as Comparative Drama, Explorations in Renaissance Culture, and the Journal of Modern Literature.

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