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Joseph William Sterrett

Re-reading early modern prayer as social act: examples from Shakespeare

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Literary criticism is increasingly interested in prayer as a cultural and literary mode. This article proposes a theoretical framework for reading prayer as a performance, as an act governed by community conventions with effects in the social world. Drawing upon groundbreaking work by Marcel Mauss and Hans Georg Gadamer, and citing critical reading of Shakespeare’s King Lear, The Tempest, and Hamlet, I show how prayer can be read as an act defined by real and imagined audiences while retaining individual self expression.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLiterature Compass
Pages (from-to)496-507
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

    Research areas

  • Prayer, Mauss, Gadamer, Shakespeare, King Lear, The Tempest, Hamlet, Performance

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