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Shakespeare on Love

Seeing the Catholic Presence in Romeo and Juliet

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Product Details

Product Code:
SHAKLP
Format:
Paperback
ISBN/UPC:
9781586176846
Length:
0.6 (in)
Size (HxW):
8 x 5.3 (in)
Pages:
160
Publication date:
March 28, 2013
Weight:
8 oz
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Product Overview

An Ignatius Press Reprint

Ignatius Press Reprints are identical in content with the most recent print edition of the original title. In order to keep important titles available at reasonable prices, we reprint them digitally in small quantities. We use high quality, acid-free paper, but the books are not smyth-sewn as is customary with our offset press print editions.

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 in Romeo 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.

Editorial Reviews

"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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