The Book of Books
- Published Date: Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021
Kristen Poole and Thomas Fulton
Shakespeare’s audiences were not simply well versed in the Bible’s content – they were also steeped in the practices and methods of biblical interpretation. Reformation and counter-reformation debate focused not just on the biblical text, but – crucially – onhow to read the text. The Bible on the Shakespearean Stage is the first volume to integrate the study of Shakespeare’s plays with the vital history of post-Reformation practices of biblical interpretation. Bringing together the foremost international scholars in the field of Shakespeare and the Bible, these essays explore Shakespeare’s engagement with scriptural interpretation in the tragedies, histories, comedies, and romance.
Reading literary texts in their historical contexts has been the dominant form of interpretation in literary criticism for the past thirty years. This collection of essays reflects on the origins of historicism and its present usefulness as a mode of literary analysis, its limitations, and its future. The volume provides a brief history of the practice from its renaissance origins, offering examples of historicist work that not only demonstrate the continuing vitality of this methodology but also suggest new directions for research. Focusing on the major figures of Shakespeare and Milton, these essays provide important and concise representations of trends in the field. Designed for scholars and students of early modern English literature (1500-1700), the volume will also be of interest to students of literature more generally and to historians.