By Emily Jones
Today marks the prestigious event of HRH the Queen’s birthday! Across Britain, celebrations are underway to mark Her Majesty’s 90th year; with the Prince of Wales recording a special radio broadcast in which he quotes a passage from Shakespeare’s Henry VIII:
“She shall be, to the happiness of England,
An aged princess; many days shall see her,
And yet no day without a deed to crown it.”
In connection with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death this Saturday, Prince Charles personally chose this reading, the artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Greg Doran, to pay tribute to The Queen’s extraordinary ‘life of dedication’.
Shakespeare’s work presents an ever-present icon of the English-speaking culture. His imagery is endlessly cited and recycled, with language permeating our public ceremonies as we have seen today, through to our private jokes.
Words of Power: Reading Shakespeare and the Bible presents a further exploration into the two titans of British history. Professor Jem Bloomfield investigates the cultural reverberations of these two collections of books, and how each era finds new meanings as they encounter works such as Hamlet or the Gospel of Mark.
Jem Bloomfield is an Assistant Professor of Literature at the University of Nottingham. A scholar of Renaissance literature, he studied at Oxford before earning his PhD from the University of Exeter.
In his free time, he blogs about Shakespeare, Christianity, and feminism – and occasionally detective fiction – at quiteirregular.wordpress.com.
“This excellent study provides a fresh and intriguing approach to the cultural status of what Jem Bloomfield calls ‘Shakespeare and the Bible’.
Engagingly written and full of surprising insights, Words of Power argues for the overlap between how these texts are approached in both popular and scholarly culture. Bloomfield takes concepts from biblical scholarship and fruitfully explores how they can be used to challenge preconceptions about the way that both Shakespeare and the Bible should be read.”
Beatrice Groves, Research Lecturer in Renaissance Literature, University of Oxford
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“To the high and mighty [Queen] of England, Elizabeth!”
(Henry VIII, Act IV)