Godless Shakespeare is the first book to discuss Shakespeare's plays from an atheist perspective.Although it is clear that Shakespeare engaged with and deployed much of his culture's broadly religious interests - his language is shot through with biblical quotations, priestly sermonizing and Christian imagery - Mallin argues that there is a profound absence of or hostility to God in his plays.
Following Dante's three part structure for The Divine Comedy - Hell represents expressions of religious faith in Shakespeare's plays, Purgatory sets out more sceptical positions, and Heaven shows articulations of godlessness - Mallin traces a spiritual ascent from the unthinkingly devout to the atheistically spiritual. This polemical, vigorous account focuses on the moral and spiritual dilemmas of major characters, developing the often subtle transitions between belief, scepticism and atheism. Finally, Godless Shakespeare argues for the liberating potential of unbelief.
About the Author
Ewan Fernie is Professor and Chair of Shakespeare Studies at the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, UK. He is the author of Shame in Shakespeare, the editor of Spiritual Shakespeares and general editor (with Simon Palfrey) of the Shakespeare Now! series.
Simon Palfrey is a Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford University. His books include Late Shakespeare: A New World of Words (Oxford, 1997); Shakespeare in Parts (Oxford, 2007), written with Tiffany Stern and awarded the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society's David Bevington Prize for best new book; Romeo and Juliet (Short Books, 2011); and the novel Dunsinane, written with Ewan Fernie. He is the founding editor (with Fernie) of Continuum's innovative series of 'minigraphs', Shakespeare Now! His new work includes a book on possible worlds in early modern drama and philosophy, and a play inspired by Spenser's Faerie Queen. His book Doing Shakespeare was published by Arden Shakespeare in 2005, reissued 2011.
Table of Contents
Introduction HELL - Religious Faith Pericles: God's BitchHamlet: Hamlet's Dark SongIsabella: Replacement TheologyTitus: CrackersPURGATORY- Skepticism Antonio: Conspicuously Failed Christ Figures Named Portia: The Profit Driven LifeKatherina: Sun, Moon, Loss of LightHamlet: Happy SuicideLeontes and audience: It is RequiredHEAVEN- Godlessness Aaron: Aaron AscendantMacbeth: The Life to ComeBottom: Dreams of Sex and DeathCleopatra: Her BecomingsReferencesIndex