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Solving Shakespeare’s riddles in The Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet, King John, 1–2 Henry IV, The Merchant of Venice, Henry V, Julius Caesar, Othello, Macbeth and Cymberline
Author: Steve Sohmer

Knowing William Shakespeare better, we are better equipped to know his plays. Better knowing his plays brings us closer to knowing him. This book suggests that Shakespeare wrote not only for the mass audience, but simultaneously for that stratum of cognoscenti whom Gabriel Harvey dubbed 'the wiser sort.' It identifies many passages in the plays which Shakespeare resolves famous cruces which scholars have never been able to unravel, and casts new light on Shakespeare's mind and method. Shakespeare wrote into Julius Caesar more than one passage intelligible only to that handful of the wiser sort who had read Plutarch and knew their Suetonius. Into Macbeth Shakespeare injected a detail accessible only to the few intrepid souls brave or reckless enough to have cast the horoscope of King James I. We find a poem in Hamlet, where the prince invites his love and bandies matters of cosmology which were burning issues (literally) throughout Shakespeare's lifetime. While Julius Caesar's old Julian calendar prevailed in England its rival, the scientifically correct Gregorian reformed calendar, dominated most of Europe. Shakespeare suffused his plays with references to calendrical anomalies, as seen in Othello. By relating Shakespeare's texts, the Renaissance calendars and the liturgy, the book produces a lexicon apt for parsing the time-riddles in Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare handled religious subjects, examined and interrogated the dogmas of the received religions, and parodied the Crucifixion by exploiting Holinshed's account of the persecution and assassination of York.

Exploring gender, anti-racism, and homonormativity in Shamim Sarif ’s The World Unseen (2001) and I Can’t Think Straight (2008)
Alberto Fernández Carbajal

relationship with Hani and is forced to leave Leyla. However, Leyla’s eyes have been opened by her affair with Tala to the inexorability of her same-sex desire and she sees no way back to Ali or to pretending to be heterosexual. She decides to ‘come out’ to her family, and will eventually persuade Tala to do the same, as an immoveable condition of their relationship. Familial responses to their homosexuality constitute a typical assemblage of mainstream religious dogma and internalised Western homophobia. Leyla stuns her mother, Maya, by proclaiming

in Queer Muslim diasporas in contemporary literature and film
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Speculations of morality and spirituality in Arthur Conan Doyle’s writings
David Beck

engage in serious religious contemplation, his speculation upon the need for deduction in religious analysis is influenced by Bell’s observational method. Holmes states, ‘[t]here is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion […] It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner’ ( ibid. : 686). This was a key note of Doyle’s early religious questioning, stressing the importance of an un-blinkered study and reflection upon religious dogma. Uncharacteristically, Holmes continues: Our highest assurance of the goodness of

in Tattoos in crime and detective narratives
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William Morris’s News from Nowhere and Chaucer’s dream visions
John M. Ganim

character of fiction, an allegory of Life. Through renunciation both of established politics and of religious dogma, the Nowherians seem to have regressed, in an historical perspective, to a pre-capitalist, even a pre-Christian era, indeed to the legendary period when the Western world was inhabited by humans and fairies living in harmony.16 Laurent suggests that Morris engages in a kind of word-painting of landscapes in the novel, akin to how the visual arts successfully merge the moral and the political qualities of buildings and 192 Contemporary Chaucer across the

in Contemporary Chaucer across the centuries
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Shakespeare rewrites the Holy Ghost
Steve Sohmer

Even William Shakespeare’s earliest plays reveal a distancing of his mind from the religious dogmas of his age. In what may be his first drama, 3 Henry VI (1591), 1 Shakespeare parodied the Crucifixion. Though his principal historical source was Hall’s Chronicle, 2 Shakespeare exploited Holinshed’s account of the persecution and assassination ofYork

in Shakespeare for the wiser sort
Open Access (free)
Christopher Morgan

‘ultimate reality’, again, a ‘religious truth’ clearly unconfined by traditional religious dogma. In answering the third question concerning the nature of the relation between religion and poetry Thomas’s answer is implicit in the foregoing responses: the relation between religion and poetry is, for Thomas, clearly organic. The individual’s subjective experience of ultimate reality itself becomes the natural stuff of poetry. Indeed, according to his own definitions, to cast off the ‘religious frame’ chapter6 28/1/05 1:33 pm Page 154 154 Expanding deity for poetry

in R. S. Thomas
Open Access (free)
Corruption, community and duty in Family Matters
Peter Morey

Rohinton Mistry law’s earnest yet aggressive bedside devotions in the disturbing scene in which Yezad’s prayers and Daisy’s music seem to do battle over the mute, prostrate elder (FM, 433–5). Formally, the concern for past-present connections is played out through repetitions: Yezad comes to repeat Nariman’s father’s inflexible religious dogma; Murad’s non-Parsi girlfriend threatens a repeat of the parental estrangement of the earlier generation; and, at one point, Yezad unfairly accuses Roxana of neglecting the rest of her family in favour of her father, paralleling

in Rohinton Mistry
Sir Philip Sidney and stoical virtue
Richard James Wood

, like Sidney, Duplessis-Mornay was a protégé of Languet, and, although Skretkowicz notes that Duplessis-Mornay ‘was very much a Huguenot political reformer who led from the front’, whereas Languet favoured ‘a politically realistic sense of tolerance and forgiveness’, they both may be said to have been ‘Politiques’. 6 Martin N. Raitière defines a ‘Politique’ as someone adopting ‘the conciliatory stance according to which national unity was to be placed above sectarian religious differences’; the Politiques were those French political activists ‘for whom no religious

in Sidney's Arcadia and the conflicts of virtue
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Shadow resurrections and artistic transformations
Naomi Booth

the striking depiction of the soul swooning at key moments in his early texts, Dubliners ( 1914 ) and A Portrait , Joyce is also reworking the trope of swooning to complicate the relationship between mind and body – to disturb the received, religious dogma of an immortal soul that will leave the intermittent, swooning body behind. The soul-swoon, I argue, becomes an important part of Joyce's exploration of what it means to be an artist – and to his related sense of the importance of embodied, physical experience. I will argue that a compound of spiritual and

in Swoon
Eileen Fauset

no relation to the realities of life. Her argument stems from her reservations with Madame de Staël’s own philosophy that religious dogma is an impediment to thought and the imagination. While Kavanagh declared that, by its very nature, the absence of ‘tame realities’ was systematic of fiction, she believed that religious dogma was a fundamental part of French life and, whether for good or bad, she could not accept a novel that ignored the consequential reality of its influence. As she says: to banish dogmatic religion from fiction means that it should be left out

in The politics of writing