If Shakespeare Was a Woman, Might Jane Austen Have Been a Man?

By |2019-06-01T22:41:22-05:00June 1st, 2019|Categories: Books, Culture, Jane Austen, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Senior Contributors, Shakespearian Authorship, William Shakespeare|

We live in a mad, mad world where anything goes and many things have gone. One of the things that appears to have gone is a sense of sanity. Take, for instance, a recent essay in The Atlantic which claims to show that William Shakespeare was in fact a woman.[*] The essay itself, which was [...]

The Underground Shakespeare

By |2018-12-22T09:16:58-05:00December 21st, 2018|Categories: Books, Culture, Dwight Longenecker, England, History, Literature, Mystery, Senior Contributors, Theater, William Shakespeare|

Despite their obscurity, The Rape of Lucrece and Venus and Adonis were Shakespeare’s best-sellers. But why were these poems so wildly popular? In Shadowplay—her first book about the secret messages in Shakespeare’s plays—Clare Asquith explains what sparked first her imagination and then her research: In the early 1980s she and her husband attended a [...]

“Othello” and the Devil Inside

By |2018-11-17T22:38:30-05:00November 17th, 2018|Categories: Books, Character, Ethics, Evil, Humanities, Liberal Arts, Literature, Tragedy, Virtue, William Shakespeare|

In Othello, William Shakespeare, the philosopher of everyday life, holds up a mirror to us and shows us what human beings are capable of. Beneath our most pleasantly cultivated exterior, there often lurks a serpent… William Hazlitt is widely recognized as one of the greatest of Shakespearean critics. Yes, there is Dr. Johnson; yes, [...]

Honor and Fame

By |2018-09-17T21:57:03-05:00September 17th, 2018|Categories: Aristotle, Conservatism, Culture, Glenn Arbery, Homer, Plato, William Shakespeare, Wyoming Catholic College|

Should honor and fame no longer be ends of ambition in such a world? The ancient philosophers doubted the ultimate merit of fame, but they also looked for the most spirited students, those most inclined to “undertake extensive and arduous enterprises"... In response to my essay about baptizing ambition, a friend from Boston College recommended [...]

Can Shakespeare Save Civilization?

By |2018-09-16T22:49:24-05:00September 15th, 2018|Categories: Catholicism, Christianity, Civilization, Conservatism, Culture, Joseph Pearce, William Shakespeare|

Perhaps an apology might be necessary for the sheer audacity of beginning any essay with such a question and with such a seemingly absurd claim. Of course, Shakespeare cannot save civilization, at least not on his own. Perhaps we should rephrase things a little, asking a slightly different question: Can Civilization be Saved without Shakespeare? [...]

Conscience in Montaigne’s “Essays” & Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”

By |2018-08-23T10:33:20-05:00August 22nd, 2018|Categories: Ethics, Evil, Mitchell Kalpakgian, Morality, William Shakespeare|

Despite the number of times the witches repeat “Fair is foul, and foul is fair,” Macbeth testifies to the objectivity of natural law and universal knowledge of good and evil known to conscience and written on the heart and mind of all persons... In the culture of sixteenth-century Europe that witnessed revolutions in geography with old [...]

“Romeo & Juliet”: A Tragedy, Not a Romance

By |2018-07-14T08:12:35-05:00July 11th, 2018|Categories: Joseph Pearce, Love, Tragedy, William Shakespeare|

Seeing something noble in Romeo and Juliet’s self-obsessive and self-destructive passion is to see it with eyes that are blind to the moral that Shakespeare teaches… Romeo and Juliet is not the only Shakespeare play that the modern world, modern critics, and modern teachers get wrong. Truth be told, Shakespeare abuse is rampant. Just about [...]

The Nietzschean Shakespeare

By |2018-06-14T10:11:26-05:00June 13th, 2018|Categories: Books, Ethics, Friedrich Nietzsche, History, Philosophy, William Shakespeare|

Friedrich Nietzsche has no explanation for the process by which Christianity conquered Rome, by which the strong accepted the morality of the weak. When it comes to a depth of understanding of the development of Christianity, William Shakespeare is the true superman… Shakespeare’s Rome: Republic and Empire by Paul A. Cantor (University of Chicago Press, [...]

The Good Man’s Bad Cause: A Lesson From “Julius Caesar”

By |2019-03-07T10:46:22-05:00May 22nd, 2018|Categories: History, Robert E. Lee, William Shakespeare|

In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Brutus, the noblest Roman of them all, ends his life working with people he cannot respect, haunted by visions of the friend he has murdered, and in a cause that fails and deserves to fail… The man fighting for a bad cause is always in a hurry, chased by the guilt of [...]

Shakespeare vs. The Puritans: The Malevolence of Malvolio

By |2019-01-22T12:17:58-05:00May 3rd, 2018|Categories: Christianity, Culture, Joseph Pearce, Religion, William Shakespeare|

A dark and malevolent aspect of the Puritans, which explains Shakespeare’s dark and malevolent portrayal of Malvolio, is the manner in which they were directly responsible for the persecution of England’s Catholics, including members of Shakespeare’s own family… If Shylock in The Merchant of Venice is a thinly-veiled Puritan (see my previous essay), so [...]

Shakespeare vs. The Puritans: Shylock and Usury

By |2018-04-28T00:47:19-05:00April 27th, 2018|Categories: Catholicism, Christianity, Culture, History, Joseph Pearce, Religion, William Shakespeare|

Usury was a hot topic in William Shakespeare’s day, and one which divided people on religious lines. It is interesting, therefore, that Shakespeare takes the Catholic side in the argument, as opposed to the Puritan position, a fact that surely heightens the possibility that Shylock is really a Puritan wearing a Jewish mask… In my [...]

Miasmic Misreadings: Exposing Shakespeare Abuse

By |2018-04-19T11:13:00-05:00April 19th, 2018|Categories: Books, Catholicism, Christianity, Homosexual Unions, Joseph Pearce, William Shakespeare|

To attempt to mould William Shakespeare into the image of what Evelyn Waugh called “our own deplorable epoch” is not merely absurd, it disqualifies those endeavouring to do so from being taken seriously as scholars or critics… There are few things more onerous in the field of literary criticism than the constant abuse of [...]

Harold Bloom: A Monster Among the Critics

By |2018-02-28T11:37:37-05:00February 22nd, 2018|Categories: Books, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Joseph Pearce, Literature, William Shakespeare|

It is always a dangerous and potentially deadly error to consider the enemy of our enemies to be our friend, patting him on the back while he is stabbing us in ours. The truth is that Dr. Harold Bloom is himself a servant of dark forces, which are subtler by far than those politically-oriented [...]