Released on 22 NOV 2012
Shakespeare's Common Prayers
“Ground-breaking, historically informed, elegantly written, and invaluable for anyone interested in a deeper understanding of Shakespeare and religion in Elizabethan England.” ~ James Shapiro, author of 1599 and Contested Will
Shakespeare’s Common Prayers illuminates Shakespeare’s great overlooked source: the Book of Common Prayer. Written in the vernacular and incorporating familiar Catholic rituals, the prayer book laid out the proper performance of church rites and services, and established Protestantism within England. And it was also highly disputed and constantly under review. In Shakespeare’s Common Prayers, Daniel Swift argues that the Book of Common Prayer provided Shakespeare with the ready elements of drama: disputes over words and their practical consequences, hope for sanctification tempered by fear of meaninglessness, and the demand for improvised performance compensating for the apparent failure of language to do what it promises.
Tracing the prayer book’s lines and motions through As You Like It, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Othello, and particularly Macbeth, Swift redirects scholarly attention to the religious heart of Shakespeare’s work and time. Shakespeare’s Common Prayers offers an exciting study of the Bard of Avon at work: of his imagination at play upon a set of literary materials from which he both borrowed and learned.
9780199838561 | £18.99 | 22 November 2012
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