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Shakespeare on Love - Seeing the Catholic Presence in Romeo and Juliet

Item Number: 95622

Catalog Code: SHAKL-P

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Shakespeare on Love

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Review Provided By TiberRiver.com - THE Catholic Book Review Site
Average Rating: This item received 5 stars overall.

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Having given the evidence for William Shakespeare's Catholicism in two previous books, literary biographer Joseph Pearce turns his attention in this work to the Bard's most famous play,Romeo and Juliet.

"Star-crossed" Romeo and Juliet are Shakespeare's most famous lovers and perhaps the most well-known lovers in literary history. Though the young pair has been held up as a romantic ideal, the play is a tragedy, ending in death. What then, asks Pearce, is Shakespeare saying about his protagonists? Are they the hapless victims of fate, or are they partly to blame for their deaths? Is their love the "real thing", or is it self-indulgent passion? And what about the adults in their lives? Did they give the young people the example and guidance that they needed?

The Catholic understanding of sexual desire, and its need to be ruled by reason, is on display inRomeo and Juliet, argues Pearce. The play is not a paean to romance but a cautionary tale about the naïveté and folly of youthful infatuation and the disastrous consequences of poor parenting. The well-known characters and their oft-quoted lines are rich in symbolic meaning that points us in the direction of the age-old wisdom of the Church.

Although such a reading of Romeo and Juliet is countercultural in an age that glorifies the heedless and headless heart of young love, Pearce makes his case through a meticulous engagement with Shakespeare and his age and with the text of the play itself.

Joseph Pearce is writer in residence and Visiting Fellow at Thomas More College in New Hampshire. He is the author of The Quest for Shakespeare and Through Shakespeare's Eyesand editor of the Ignatius Critical Editions of Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear. His other books include literary biographies of Oscar Wilde, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton and Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

"Joseph Pearce's book on Romeo and Juliet stands like a lighthouse in the murk of modern literary criticism. His approach challenges the assumptions that govern popular 'scholarly' work on Shakespeare in our time. It is massively researched, convincing, intelligent, and (happily)interesting. I commend it highly to all possible readers."
- Thomas Howard, Author, Chance or the Dance? 

 


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9781586176846
160
7 7/10"  (19.5 cm) x 5 1/2"  (13.9 cm)
More Ignatius Press Gifts (About Ignatius Press)
2013

Review Provided By TiberRiver.com - THE Catholic Book Review Site

This item received 5 stars overall. Great for teenages and twenty-somethings studying Shakespeare in school

If you're like me, you read Shakespeare in high school or college, and don't remember much of it. Sure, you can rattle off a few famous lines like Hamlet's "To be, or not to be," or Romeo's "But soft! What light through yonder window breaks," but do you really remember much else about the plays? In fact, would you go so far as to say that you even understood them back then? Or was it just funny-sounding English with a lot of references that your teacher explained to you for you to believe because you didn't know any better? That's how I always felt, but when I saw Full Review...

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