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Shakespeare and the Reformation

Shakespeare and the Reformation
91 Charles Street W., Chapel, Old Victoria College
Time: Feb 13th, 4:00 pm End: Feb 13th, 6:00 pm
Interest Categories: Religion, Study of (FAS), Political Science, Medieval Studies (FAS), English and Drama (UTM), English (UTSC), English (FAS), Drama, Theatre, Performance Studies (FAS), Comparative Literature (FAS), Book History/Print Culture, 1500-1800, 1200-1500
Lecture 2 (of 2) by CRRS Distinguished Visiting Scholar Brian Cummings, University of York

The Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies is pleased to present the Distinguished Visiting Scholar for 2014

Brian Cummings, Anniversary Professor of English, The University of York (UK)

Shakespeare and the Reformation

Religion is the last great mystery of Shakespeare studies. For most of the last century, Shakespeare was regarded as a quintessentially secular author, while attributing religious belief to him was a kind of blasphemy. In the past few years a counter-argument has been made associating Shakespeare with the recusant Catholicism of Elizabethan England. Such issues have run aground in the frustrating remains of his personal biography. This lecture asks whether we could take a different approach to the legacy of the Reformation in Shakespeare. Rather than seeking the miasma of individual faith as a key to dramatic meaning, I investigate instead the burden of religious change and controversy on fundamental questions of identity and the human body. Looking at a variety of different plays, I show how the transformations in the rituals of everyday life are constantly present in the dynamic forces of Shakespeare’s theatre in performance.

Brian Cummings (Anniversary Professor, University of York, UK, 2012-present) has taught at the Universities of Cambridge and Sussex, and is co-founder of the Centre for Early Modern Studies, University of Sussex. Cummings’ research examines Shakespeare and Renaissance literature, the history of religion, the history of the book, modern poetry, and the philosophy of literature. His recent publications include Mortal Thoughts: Religion, Secularity, and Identity in Shakespeare and Early Modern Culture (Oxford University Press, 2013), an edition of The Book of Common Prayer: The Texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662 (OUP 2011), and The Literary Culture of the Reformation: Grammar and Grace (OUP 2002 & 2007).

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies at (416) 585-4484 or see http://crrs.ca

Professor Cummings will be giving two other talks during his stay:

Tuesday 11 February at 4:00 pm "Encyclopedic Erasmus" in the Chapel of Old Victoria College

Wednesday 12 February at 4:00 pm "Grammar and Grace" in the Goldring Student Centre (150 Charles St. W.) room 206 -- workshop for graduate students

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