Shakespeare Jahrbuch 2013

Dust jacket image

FAITH AND DOUBT 

Shakespeare wrote his plays at a time when religious dogma and practices of worship were being relativized or even rejected – due to the Reformation, the contact with non-Christian religions, and the beginning of modern sciences. The theatre brings such conflicts to the stage and re-enacts Christian rituals. However, it cannot (and does not even want to) erase doubt, since it subsists on the perpetual play of re-creating and authenticating (stage) reality while simultaneously problematizing its validity. Brian Cummings understands “thinking in the future” in Shakespeare as a mode which introduces fundamental metaphysical problems. He shows that Shakespeare’s plays not only interrogate the contents of religious beliefs, but that they also explore what it means to believe and to doubt. Thomas Kullmann understands the pagan pantheon of Shakespeare’s plays as a space which allows Christian and non-Christian religions to be tested and compared to one another. The contributions by Dieter Fuchs, Jean-Christoph Mayer and Sonia Suman discuss the tension between faith and doubt in individual plays – in Titus Andronicus and in the histories. Anat Feinberg introduces George Tabori’s adaptations of The Merchant of Venice and explores how Tabori, as a Jewish director and with explicit reference to the Holocaust, dealt with Shakespeare’s presumably most controversial comedy. Merchant, alongside Othello, is also discussed in Gerald MacLean’s article. He, however, studies the underlying idea of hospitality in the plays and compares it to the travelogues of the approximately contemporaneous Ottoman author Evliya Çelebi. The series of papers is concluded by Klaus Reichert’s article on the problem of ageing in King Lear, the world of which – as suggested by the production photograph on the book jacket – no longer offers “metaphysical solace” to humankind (Blumenberg).

Sabine Schülting

Shakespeare Jahrbuch 2013

Umschlagmotiv

FAITH AND DOUBT 

Shakespeare wrote his plays at a time when religious dogma and practices of worship were being relativized or even rejected – due to the Reformation, the contact with non-Christian religions, and the beginning of modern sciences. The theatre brings such conflicts to the stage and re-enacts Christian rituals. However, it cannot (and does not even want to) erase doubt, since it subsists on the perpetual play of re-creating and authenticating (stage) reality while simultaneously problematizing its validity. Brian Cummings understands “thinking in the future” in Shakespeare as a mode which introduces fundamental metaphysical problems. He shows that Shakespeare’s plays not only interrogate the contents of religious beliefs, but that they also explore what it means to believe and to doubt. Thomas Kullmann understands the pagan pantheon of Shakespeare’s plays as a space which allows Christian and non-Christian religions to be tested and compared to one another. The contributions by Dieter Fuchs, Jean-Christoph Mayer and Sonia Suman discuss the tension between faith and doubt in individual plays – in Titus Andronicus and in the histories. Anat Feinberg introduces George Tabori’s adaptations of The Merchant of Venice and explores how Tabori, as a Jewish director and with explicit reference to the Holocaust, dealt with Shakespeare’s presumably most controversial comedy. Merchant, alongside Othello, is also discussed in Gerald MacLean’s article. He, however, studies the underlying idea of hospitality in the plays and compares it to the travelogues of the approximately contemporaneous Ottoman author Evliya Çelebi. The series of papers is concluded by Klaus Reichert’s article on the problem of ageing in King Lear, the world of which – as suggested by the production photograph on the book jacket – no longer offers “metaphysical solace” to humankind (Blumenberg).

Sabine Schülting