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A Will to Believe: Shakespeare and Religion (Oxford Wells Shakespeare Lectures) 1st Edition

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Review
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"Aimed especially at an undergraduate audience, Kastan combines deep historical learning, careful close reading, and a
fast-paced prose style. The book also contains a steady stream of critical wisdom that I think scholars at any level
could benefit from." --Kevin Curran, Studies in English Literature 1500-1900

"One of the book's achievements is that it shows the reader how to acknowledge the importance of religion in the plays
without being ruffled by crosswinds of fashionable doctrine...Kastan's virtue lies in showing us how to recognize
"Shakespeare's imaginative engagement" with religion, and its way of "inviting our own."... is a journey of discovery
and recollection with a witty and learned companion." --Graeme Hunter, Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity

"A Will to Believe illustrates exactly the qualities it finds in Shakespeare: it is inclusive, open-minded, and sociable
it offer[s] another careful consideration of Shakespeare's relation to Catholicism, a thoughtful meditation on his
relation to non-Christian others, and a fresh take on the (in)significance of religion in Hamlet." --Kenneth J.E.
Graham, University of Waterloo, Modern Philology

"[T]opics . . . are handled with an incisive intelligence and adroitly deployed contextual scholarship which stimulate
us into seeing these problems afresh. As a result, we finish the book understanding more acutely the complexities of
religious life in Shakespeare's England, and appreciating more subtly the richly troubled religious world of his plays."
--Paul Hammond, The Seventeenth Century

"This is something that is long overdue in Shakespearian circles.... Kastan succeeds in transforming the debate over
religion into something worth reading."
--David J. Davis, The New Criterion

"Kastan's short, accessible, and brilliantly readable book asks why the question of Shakespeare's belief is so important
to us, and surveys the treatment of religion in the plays themselves. Its author successfully avoids both the recent
tendency to read religion as merely a metaphor for power, and the equally unhelpful determination to interpret the plays
as religious allegories." --Alison Shell, The Church Times

"A Will to Believe is a substantial work by one of the major Shakespeareans of our time. It matches deft critical
ability with proper scholarship, wide and deep learning with acute judgment." --Andrew Hadfield, Irish Times

"Kastan's thoughtful, learned, and judicious readings leave us with genuinely new evaluations of what Shakespeare does
and does not render visible, and make possible, in his extraordinary plays. A Will to Believe leaves us with a will to
think, learn, and live more." --Julia Rienhard Lupton, Literature and History

"Kastan writes compellingly of Hamlet, Measure for Measure, King John, Othello and The Merchant of Venice in agnostic
terms while insisting on their numinous essence" --Tiffany Taylor, The Times Higher Education

"...I give a hearty salute to a brilliantly graceful book that everyone interested in religion and in Shakespeare (i.e.,
just about all of us) should read and recommend to students and friends." --Renaissance Quarterly

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About the Author
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David Scott Kastan is the George M. Bodman Professor of English at Yale University. Among his books are Shakespeare and
the Shapes of Time (1982), Shakespeare after Theory (1999), and Shakespeare and the Book (2001). He has produced
important scholarly editions of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part One, Milton's Paradise Lost, and Marlowe's Dr. Faustus and
he edited the five-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature (2006). He currently serves as one of the general
editors of the Arden Shakespeare.

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