PELHAM, New York (MMD Newswire) April 26, 2012 -- A newly released book, Shakespeare and the Jesuits: 'To Fight the Fight,' by independent writer Andrea Campana, examines the canon of Shakespeare in historical context and discovers the startling presence of Ignatian spirituality practiced by Jesuit priests in hiding during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. As part of an emerging understanding of Shakespeare's religious sympathies, the study places the great Bard within a literary movement promoted by the early Society of Jesus to counter the fledgling Anglican Church. "It appears that in a world of bitter religious struggle, Shakespeare sympathized with the plight of the Jesuits and served as witness to their martyrdom," Ms. Campana said in a statement. The book reveals literary evidence definitively linking Shakespeare to the dangerous Jesuit mission. Hamlet, Othello, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, and the sonnets in particular are shown to contain the wording and thought of a notable Jesuit theologian. Findings include:
--The numerical cipher used by the Jesuit leader Henry Garnet for secrecy purposes in correspondence is found in Shakespeare's sonnets, corresponding to the Jesuit emblem "IHS";
--The form of the Jesuit theologian's first political work, published the year after Shakespeare retired from the stage, reflects the baptismal date of Shakespeare, April 26;
--The Jesuit theologian is the likely author of Sonnet 130, "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun";
--Hamlet includes distinctly Ignatian theology, including the exclamatio admirativa (cry of the sinful soul) and the discretio spirituum (relating to the discernment of spirits);
--Using identical diction, the Jesuit theologian's work and The Tempest allude to Psalm 46, which famously includes "shake" and "spear" exactly 46 words from the beginning and end in the Authorized Version of the Bible;
--Henry Garnet is the subject of Shakespeare's Sonnet 128;
--Romeo and Juliet instructs on the Catholic sacrament of Confirmation;
--The Fair Youth of 126 sonnets is the martyred Jesuit Edmund Campion;
--Ben Jonson in his dying years reveals the involvement of several Jesuit missionaries in the canon;
--The Jesuit theologian is linked to "The Phoenix and the Turtle" and the cryptic dedication of the sonnets.
Shakespeare and the Jesuits: 'To Fight the Fight' is published by Campbell, CA-based FastPencil, Inc. It can be purchased as an e-book for $9.99 at major e-retailers, including Amazon (amazon.com) and Barnes and Noble (barnesandnoble.com) and as a paperback for $29.95 and as a digital version for $9.99 from the FastPencil Marketplace (fastpencil.com).
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