Shakespeare for the Masses
Asquith, Clare, The American Conservative
"THE GREATEST ADVANTAGE of Shakespeare studies," grumbles one scholar, "seems to be that questions may be asked over and over again, and that almost nobody pays attention to the answers." Evidence that much Shakespeare scholarship is indeed a dialogue of the deaf may be found in the current controversy over Shakespeare's religion, an arena in which identical historical material is wheeled out repeatedly by every side as conclusive proof of its own argument and just as repeatedly ignored.
Most contemporary biographers opt for a secular Shakespeare whose standpoint was that of an enlightened Renaissance humanist detached from the religious disputes of his day. Joseph Pearce takes the opposing view. He cites evidence that Shakespeare remained a Catholic throughout his life, and Pearce fights his unpopular corner with the vigor of one of his earlier biographical subjects, G.K. Chesterton: "It does beggar belief," he exclaims, "that writers as accomplished as [Peter] Ackroyd and …
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Publication information: Article title: Shakespeare for the Masses. Contributors: Asquith, Clare - Author. Magazine title: The American Conservative. Volume: 7. Issue: 16 Publication date: August 25, 2008. Page number: 31+. © 2009 The American Conservative LLC. COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale Group.
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