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Hamlet, Protestantism, and the Mourning of Contingency


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Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword, James Nohrnberg; Preface; Guide to the citations; Bad dreams: the loss of contingency; The Be, the Eucharist, and the logic of Protestantism; Purgatory and the value of time; The theater of merit; Chastity and the strumpet fortune; The Be, Protestantism, and silence; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

John E. Curran Jr is Associate Professor of English at Marquette University, USA. He is also the author of Roman Invasions: The British History, Protestant Anti-Romanism, and The Historical Imagination in England, 1530-1660.


'It is of some interest that Shakespeare coined the phrase "foregone conclusion." For John Curran argues--ingeniously, learnedly, provocatively, and polemically - and with a truly formidable command of the academical literature - that the spasmodic, paralyzed, and resigned action of the protagonist in "Hamleti" n effect comprises the playwright's analysis of human agency according to opposed theological positions and authorities - Protestant and Catholic - on the subject of the freedom of the will. ... The great accomplishment of this remarkable book is the implacable derivation of its thesis from detail after detail of the play's speeches and the script for its action, and the unrelenting re-application of the argument to scene after scene - from protasis to denouement - of the drama's business and pilgrimage. But the great interest of the book also resides in the extended explanation it provides for our own culture's ongoing and seemingly inexhaustible fascination with Hamlet's hag-ridden ministry, insofar as that fascination lies precisely in our perpetual unreadiness - or constitutional inability - to bury the theological dead.' James Nohrnberg, University of Virginia, author of The Analogy of The Faerie Queene 'Of several recent studies of Catholic versus Protestant in Shakespeare [...] Curran's is the most subtle and persuasive...' Renaissance Quarterly 'This is an important book... written with admirable clarity and wants, with extraordinary urgency, to explore a really big idea. With admirable lucidity and economy, Curran sets out within the first three pages of the text proper his intriguing and provocative argument ...Curran writes quite brilliantly on Hamlet as a quasi-absurdist drama of inevitability, and the book is a compelling, at times even a gripping read, which offers an account of Hamlet which no future critic will be able to disregard.' Notes and Queries '... none of the advances of this recent critical tren

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