17 January 2019

Religious Conversion in Early Modern English Drama

This month Cambridge University Press has published Religious Conversion in Early Modern English Drama, a book by Dr Lieke Stelling (Early Modern Literature). 

Dr. Lieke Stelling
Dr Lieke Stelling

Few subjects of the English stage have proved more alluring and enduring than religious conversion. The emergence of the Elizabethan theatre marked a profound shift in the way in which conversion was presented. If medieval drama had encouraged conversion without reservation, early Elizabethan plays started to question it.

early modern drama

Considering over forty canonical and lesser known works, this study argues that more so than any other medium, early modern drama engaged with the question of the possibility of undergoing a radical transformation in faith and presented the period's understanding of it as fundamentally unsettled. Offering the first cross-religious exploration of conversion in early modern English drama, and presenting a new reading of William Shakespeare's tragedy Othello, Lieke Stelling reveals telling patterns in the stage's treatment of conversion and religious identity.