The Man Behind the Arras by Graeme Hunter

The Man Behind the Arras

A Will to Believe: Shakespeare and Religion
by David Scott Kastan
Oxford University Press, 2014
(164 pages, $40.00, hardcover)

reviewed by Graeme Hunter

The first thing you notice about Shakespeare is how effortlessly he writes, and his God-like way of taking delight, and making you delight, in all the works of his hands. His writings show you life itself, a gift as rich as it is rare, but they reveal nothing about their author beyond his literary greatness. Persevere, though, and at some point in reading one of his plays, or seeing it performed, a sublime moment is sure to come in which the veil is lifted and the clarifying beauty of his vision seems to offer you not just an unclouded understanding of human life but also a glimpse of the playwright's tender and perceptive heart.

We all get these epiphanies from time to time. If we are wise, we keep them to ponder in our hearts, but are wary of taking them to market. Scholarly readers are often less prudent and rush into print trailing clouds of dubious insight.

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Graeme Hunter is a contributing editor to Touchstone and Research Professor of Philosophy at Dominican University College in Ottawa. He is the author of Radical Protestantism in Spinoza's Thought (Ashgate).

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