Reading Shakespeare's Will: The Theology of Figure from Augustine to the Sonnets

Reading Shakespeare's Will: The Theology of Figure from Augustine to the Sonnets

by Lisa Freinkel

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Overview

Reading Shakespeare's Will: The Theology of Figure from Augustine to the Sonnets by Lisa Freinkel

The most influential treatments of Shakespeare´s Sonnets have ignored the impact of theology on his poetics, examining instead the poet´s "secular" emphasis on psychology and subjectivity. Reading Shakespeare´s Will offers the first systematic account of the theology behind the poetry. Investigating the poetic stakes of Christianity´s efforts to assimilate Jewish scripture, the book reads Shakespeare through the history of Christian allegory.To "read Shakespeare´s will," Freinkel argues, is to read his bequest to and from a literary history saturated by religious doctrine. Freinkel thus challenges the common equation of subjectivity with secularity, and defines Shakespeare´s poetic voice in theological rather than psychoanalytic terms. Tracing from Augustine to Luther the religious legacy that informs Shakespeare´s work, Freinkel suggests that we cannot properly understand his poetry without recognizing it as a response to Luther´s Reformation. Delving into the valences and repercussions of this response, Reading Shakespeare´s Will charts the notion of a "theology of figure" that helped to shape the themes, tropes, and formal structures of Renaissance literature and thought.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231123242
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 01/23/2002
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 6.06(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.09(d)
Lexile: 1330L (what's this?)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Lisa Freinkel is assistant professor of English at the University of Oregon.

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