Bringing together recent scholarship on religion and the spatial imagination, Kristen Poole examines how changing religious beliefs and transforming conceptions of space were mutually informative in the decades around 1600. Supernatural Environments in Shakespeare's England explores a series of cultural spaces that focused attention on interactions between the human and the demonic or divine: the deathbed, purgatory, demonic contracts and their spatial surround, Reformation cosmologies and a landscape newly subject to cartographic surveying. It examines the seemingly incongruous coexistence of traditional religious beliefs and new mathematical, geometrical ways of perceiving the environment. Arguing that the late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century stage dramatized the phenomenological tension that resulted from this uneasy confluence, this groundbreaking study considers the complex nature of supernatural environments in Marlowe's Doctor Faustus and Shakespeare's Othello, Hamlet, Macbeth and The Tempest.
The Bible was everywhere in Shakespeare's England. Through sermons, catechisms, treatises, artwork, literature and, of course, biblical reading itself, the stories and language of the Bible pervaded popular and elite culture. In recent years, scholars have demonstrated how thoroughly biblical allusions saturate Shakespearean plays. But Shakespeare's audiences were not simply well versed in the Bible's content - they were also steeped in the practices and methods of biblical interpretation. Reformation and counter-reformation debate focused not just on the biblical text, but - crucially - on how to read the text. The Bible on the Shakespearean Stage is the first volume to integrate the study of Shakespeare's plays with the vital history of Reformation practices of biblical interpretation. Bringing together the foremost international scholars in the field of 'Shakespeare and the Bible', these essays explore Shakespeare's engagement with scriptural interpretation in the tragedies, histories, comedies, and romances.