Prayer, Despair, and Drama

Elizabethan Introspection
Author: Peter Iver Kaufman
Cloth – $30
978-0-252-02222-7
Publication Date
Cloth: 01/01/1996
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About the Book

"Strikingly original and beautifully written....Prayer, Despair, and Drama is an extremely rich, complex study." -- John Corrigan, Arizona State University West

Prayer, Despair, and Drama explores the godly sorrow and pious dis-ease, or lack of ease, of Elizabethan Calvinists and finds that what some have characterized as an evangelism of fear functioned more as a kind of religious therapy.

In this major contribution to discussions of the relationship between religion and literature in Elizabethan England, Peter Iver Kaufman argues that the soul-searching and self-scourging typical of late Tudor Calvinism was reflected in the rhetoric of self-loathing then prevalent in sermons, sonnets, and soliloquys. Kaufman shows how this spiritual psychology informs major literary texts including Hamlet, The Fairie Queene, Donne's Holy Sonnets, and other works.

A volume in the series Studies in Anglican History, edited by Peter W. Williams