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A Will to BelieveShakespeare and Religion$
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David Scott Kastan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572892

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572892.001.0001

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All Roads Lead to Rome

All Roads Lead to Rome

(p.49) 3 All Roads Lead to Rome
A Will to Believe

David Scott Kastan

Oxford University Press

The chapter considers the treatment of Catholics in the plays, recognizing how often their presence is largely without any sectarian charge. It goes on to consider the two problematic cases, King John and Henry VIII, both of which raise issues directly related to post-Reformation controversies, using a remarkable copy of the Second Folio, which had been censored by the head of a Jesuit seminary in Vallodolid, Spain in the 1640s, as a means of seeing what was, at least to a Catholic official, problematic. The Jesuit official razored out Measure for Measure, and the chapter ends with an account of what demanded that radical censorship rather than the local expurgation of the rest of the volume, and also with an account of why confessional differences may in fact have been overstated in our understanding of religion in Shakespeare, and perhaps even in our understanding of early modern England itself.

Keywords:   Catholicism, friars, comedy, King John, Henry VIII, William Sankey, St. Albans English College at Valladolid, Second Folio, censorship, Measure for Measure

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