Spiritual Shakespeares (Paperback) book cover

Spiritual Shakespeares

Edited by Ewan Fernie

© 2006 – Routledge

264 pages

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Paperback: 9780415319676
pub: 2005-08-25
Hardback: 9780415319669
pub: 2005-08-25
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203625491
pub: 2005-11-16
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Spiritual Shakespeares is the first book to explore the scope for reading Shakespeare spiritually in the light of contemporary theory and current world events. Ewan Fernie has brought together an exciting cast of critics in order to respond to the ‘religious turn’ in recent literary theory and to the spiritualized politics of terrorism and the ‘War on Terror’.

Exploring a genuinely new perspective within Shakespeare Studies, the volume suggests that experiencing the spiritual intensities of the plays could lead us back to dramatic intensity as such. It tests spirituality from a political perspective, as well as subjecting politics to an unusual spiritual critique. Amongst its controversial and provocative arguments is the idea that a consideration of spirituality might point the way forward for materialist criticism.

Reaching across and beyond literary studies to offer challenging and powerful contributions from leading scholars, this book offers unique readings of some very familiar plays.


‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in secular materialism, theology, or contemporary theory. That at least is what the present collection sets out so suggestively to show.’ - John D. Caputo (from the foreword)

‘Readers will find here an engagement with both Shakespeare and spirituality which is intelligent, original, and challengingly optimistic, one which surely succeeds in its wish to "reinvigorate and strengthen politically progressive materialist criticism".’ - Jonathan Dollimore (from the afterword)

'Fernie has done a very good job in bringing together a provocative and intelligent set of essays. Spiritual Shakespeares offers a fresh and edgy perspective on the critically hot topic of religion … [it] deserves attention not only from scholars and critics interested in Shakespeare and theory or in Shakespeare and religion, but also from professional readers looking for new approaches to Shakespeare's works.' - Graham Hammill, University of Notre Dame

Table of Contents

List of Contributors General editor’s preface Acknowledgements Foreword: Of hyper-reality John D. Caputo Introduction: Shakespeare, spirituality and contemporary criticism Ewan Fernie 1. ‘Where hope is coldest’: All’s Well that Ends Well Kiernan Ryan 2. Harry’s (in)human face David Ruiter 3. Waiting for Gobbo Lowell Gallagher 4. ‘Salving the mail’: perjury, grace and the disorder of things in Love’s Labour’s Lost Philippa Berry 5. The Shakespearean fetish Lisa Freinkel 6. Bottom’s secret John J. Joughin 7. Spectres of Hamlet Richard Kearney 8. The last act: presentism, spirituality and the politics of Hamlet Ewan Fernie Afterword Jonathan Dollimore Bibliography Index

About the Series

Accents on Shakespeare

The Accents on Shakespeare series provides short, powerful 'cutting edge' accounts of and comments on new developments in Shakespeare studies. The volumes either 'apply' theory, or broaden and adapt it in order to connect with concrete teaching concerns. In the process, they also reflect and engage with the major developments in Shakespearean studies of the last ten years.

Since the New Accents series was established, 'theory' as a fundamental feature of the study of literature, the need for short, 'cutting-edge' accounts of and comments on new developments in literary studies has increased enormously. In the case of Shakespeare, Accents on Shakespeare supplies an exciting range of provocative new titles. The books in the series either apply theory, or broaden and adapt it to connect with teaching concerns. In the process they also reflect and engage with the major developments in Shakespearean studies of recent years.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Spirituality