The first of two Renaissance era books we read at table so far this year, Stephen Greenblatt’s Will in the World was an imaginative narrative about the life of William Shakespeare. It had a surprising amount of Catholic material, not only in relation to the already blogged about attitudes towards death, but also in Greenblatt’s imagining a meeting between the great Jesuit martyr-to-be, St. Edmund Campion, and the young Will in the North of England. Even if such a meeting was highly unlikely, the parallel between two different kinds of greatness is fascinating. While there is a good amount of citation from the plays and poems of Shakespeare, there is not so much that it overwhelms the reading of the biography in a table reading environment.
The biography had the added benefit of inspiring various monks to revisit various plays and sonnets. I personally enjoyed rereading Richard II.