Words of Power: Reading Shakespeare and the Bible

Words of Power: Reading Shakespeare and the Bible

by Jem Bloomfield


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Shakespeare and the Bible are titans of English-speaking culture: their images are endlessly cited and recycled, and their language permeates everything from our public ceremonies to our private jokes. In Words of Power, Jem Bloomfield explores the cultural reverberations of these two collections of books, and how each era finds new meanings as they encounter works such as Hamlet or the Gospel of Mark.Beginning with a shrewd examination of how we have codified and standardised their canons, deciding which books and which words are included in the official collections and which are excluded, Bloomfield charts the ways in which every generation grapples with these enigmatic and complex texts. He explores the way they are read and performedin public, the institutions that use their names to legitimise their own activities, and how the texts are quoted by politicians, lords and rappers. Words of Power throws modern ideas about Shakespeare and the Bible into sharp relief by contrasting them with those of our ancestors, showing how our engagements with these texts reveal as much about ourselves as their actual meanings.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718894139
Publisher: The Lutterworth Press
Publication date: 05/26/2016
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x (d)

About the Author

Jem Bloomfield is an Assistant Professor of Literature at the University of Nottingham. A scholar of Renaissance literature, he studied at Oxford before earning his PhD from the University of Exeter. In his free time, he blogs about Shakespeare, Christianity, and feminism – and occasionally detective fiction – at quiteirregular.wordpress.com.

Table of Contents

"1. Introduction
2. The text itself: the canon and textual criticism
3. People of the books: institutional authority and control
4. Ways of reading: modes of interpretation through history
5. Performing the word: the texts’ use in public and private
6. Calling on their name: quotation, advertisement and appropriation
7. Conclusion"

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