Shakespeare, the Bible, and the Form of the Book: Contested Scriptures

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Why do Shakespeare and the English Bible seem to have an inherent relationship with each other? How have these two monumental traditions in the history of the book functioned as mutually reinforcing sources of cultural authority? How do material books and related reading practices serve as specific sites of intersection between these two textual traditions? This collection makes a significant intervention in our understanding of Shakespeare, the Bible, and the role of textual materiality in the construction of cultural authority. Departing from conventional source study, it questions the often naturalized links between the Shakespearean and biblical corpora, examining instead the historically contingent ways these links have been forged. The volume brings together leading scholars in Shakespeare, book history, and the Bible as literature, whose essays converge on the question of Scripture as source versus Scripture as process-whether that scripture is biblical or Shakespearean-and in turn explore themes such as cultural authority, pedagogy, secularism, textual scholarship, and the materiality of texts. Covering an historical span from Shakespeare's post-Reformation era to present-day Northern Ireland, the volume uncovers how Shakespeare and the Bible's intertwined histories illuminate the enduring tensions between materiality and transcendence in the history of the book.