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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: March ::
Shakespeare's Personal Faith
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0563  Friday, 25 March 2005

From:           John D. Cox <
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Date:           Thursday, 24 Mar 2005 14:44:50 -0500
Subject:        Shakespeare's Personal Faith

Jack Heller's examples of Bunyan and Flannery O'Connor are helpful, but
they reinforce the point I made earlier about extra-literary evidence
regarding a writer's ideological commitments. Knowing what Bunyan and
O'Connor believed does not have to be inferred from their literary
works; we know a lot about them otherwise (including letters in
O'Connor's case and *Grace Abounding* in Bunyan's), and we bring that
knowledge to their fiction. In Shakespeare's case, we have nothing but
the plays and poems-nothing, that is, about his personal beliefs. Don
Bloom's point about O'Connor as a "mad Baptist" makes the point. Without
her letters etc., his conclusion would seem to be as convincing (maybe
more convincing) as an argument that she was a devout Catholic.

John Cox
Hope College

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