OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

Shakespeare's Unreformed Fictions

ISBN : 9780199671267

Price(incl.tax): 
¥17,897
Author: 
Gillian Woods
Pages
256 Pages
Format
Hardcover
Size
222 x 147 mm
Pub date
Jun 2013
Series
Oxford English Monographs
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Why does Catholicism have such an imaginative hold on Shakespearean drama, even though the on-going Reformation outlawed its practice? Shakespeare's Unreformed Fictions contends that the answers to this question are theatrical rather than strictly theological. Avoiding biographical speculation, this book concentrates on dramatic impact, and thoroughly integrates new literary analysis with fresh historical research. In exploring the dramaturgical variety of the 'Catholic' content of Shakespeare's plays, Gillian Woods argues that habits, idioms, images, and ideas lose their denominational clarity when translated into dramatic fiction: they are awkwardly 'unreformed' rather than doctrinally Catholic. Providing nuanced readings of generically diverse plays, this book emphasises the creative function of such unreformed material, which Shakespeare uses to pose questions about the relationship between self and other. A wealth of contextual evidence is studied, including catechisms, homilies, religious polemics, news quartos, and non-Shakespearean drama, to highlight how early modern Catholicism variously provoked nostalgia, faith, conversion, humour, fear, and hatred. This book argues that Shakespeare exploits these contradictory attitudes to frame ethical problems, creating fictional plays that consciously engage audiences in the difficult leaps of faith required by both theatre and theology. By recognizing the playfulness of Shakespeare's unreformed fictions, this book offers a different perspective on the interactions between post-Reformation religion and the theatre, and an alternative angle on Shakespeare's interrogation of the scope of dramatic fiction.

Index: 

Introduction
Incorporating the Past in 1 Henry VI
Converting Names in Love's Labour's Lost
Seeming Difference in Measure for Measure and All's Well that Ends Well
Affecting Possession in King Lear
Knowing Fiction in The Winter's Tale
Bibliography

About the author: 

Gillian Woods is a Lecturer in Renaissance Theatre and Drama at Birkbeck College, University of London. She has published on a range of early modern drama, including works by Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, John Ford and Anthony Munday.

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