Shakespeare and the Politics of Protestant England

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9780813117904: Shakespeare and the Politics of Protestant England
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Church and state during Shakespeare's lifetime were in significant conflict on issues stemming from Henry VIII's break with Rome, issues centering principally on questions of authority and obedience - religious conformity, the form of church government, the jurisdiction of spiritual and temporal courts, and the source and scope of the monarch's power. To what extent were these disputes present in Shakespeare's work?
In her compelling reassessment of Shakespeare's historicity, Donna Hamilton rejects the notion that the official censorship of the day prevented the stage from representing contemporary debates concerning the relations among church, state, and individual. She argues instead that throughout his career Shakespeare positioned his writing politically and ideologically in relation to the ongoing and changing church-state controversies and in ways that have much in common with the shifts on these issues identified with the Leicester-Sidney-Essex-Southampton-Pembroke group.
In her readings of King John, Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Cymbeline and Henry VIII, Hamilton finds Shakespeare reappropriating a wide range of idioms from church-state discourse, particularly those of anti-catholicism and nonconformity. And she uses this language to broach some of the broad social and political issues involving obedience, privacy, property, and conscience - matters that were often the focus of church-state disputes and that provided this historical period with its central rhetorics of subjectivity.
In this first full-scale study of Shakespeare and church politics, Hamilton also provides an important reassessment of censorship practices, of the means by which dissident views circulated, of the centrality of anti-catholic discourse for all church-state debates, and of the overwhelming significance of church-state issues as an agent for print and stage.

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"Boldly proposes to read Shakespeare by way of the rich contemporary Tudor and Stuart polemical literature on the relations between church and state." -- Choice

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9780710813756: Shakespeare and the Politics of Protestant England

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ISBN 10:  0710813759 ISBN 13:  9780710813756
Publisher: Prentice-Hall, 1992
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