Brightest Heaven of Invention: A Christian Guide to Six Shakespeare Plays by Peter J. Leithart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
On my year-long journey through the works of Shakespeare this year, Peter Leithart’s guide, Brightest Heaven of Invention, has helped me immensely.
Shakespeare is often difficult to understand, and there is more symbolism going on than I pick up on. Leithart points some of it out in a way accessible to most readers. Much of the symbolism is biblically oriented as well (usually intended by Shakespeare, I believe). Macbeth’s ambition is like Saul’s. Benedick is converted from scorn to love and his wedding shows us the consummation of all things at the end of time. Leithart is well read on the Bible and the classics, so that his analysis of Shakepeare has a uniquely Christian orientation that avoids shallow moralism.
Leithart takes six of the best plays, lays out 5 lessons for each play, and supplies questions for review and discussion after each lesson. This format is ideal for a high school course, but it also worked for me for a small book club discussion group.
If you’ve ever wondered where to start in reading Shakespeare, this book is perfect for you.
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