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Products for grant FA-53242-07

Faith in Shakespeare: Theater and Theology
Richard McCoy, CUNY Research Foundation, Queens College

Grant details:

Faith in Shakespeare (Book)
Title: Faith in Shakespeare
Author: Richard C. McCoy
Abstract: Faith in Shakespeare aims to explain what it means to believe in Shakespeare’s plays. Why do we believe in the truth of his improbable stories and plot twists – fairies in Midsummer Night’s Dream, ghosts in Hamlet, magic in The Tempest, descents of the gods in As You Like It and Cymbeline, and an apparent resurrection in The Winter’s Tale – and how do his imaginary characters come to seem more real than the people sitting beside us in the theater? For more than a decade, scholarship has sidestepped this question by speculating about Shakespeare’s own confessional allegiances and by focusing on the plays’ religious context, even assigning them a sacramental purpose. My own approach incorporates a thorough knowledge of Reformation thought, but I show how faith in Shakespeare is more poetic and theatrical than theological, drawing on the willing suspension of disbelief and the power of performance and speech. Belief is sustained by dramatic illusions that engage us even as we see through them, and these illusions allow us, in the words of the Chorus of Henry V, to mind “true things by what their mockeries be.”
Year: 2013
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: world
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9780199945771
Copy sent to NEH?: No