How to be a Shakespearean Atheist
- Extra Reading
Villainous atheists were, like witches, stock figures of the European imagination in the Renaissance. But when Shakespeare and his contemporaries put them on the stage, ‘atheists’ could be uncomfortably compelling.
This lecture will explore how the sixteenth century found ways of distancing itself from religion – like Christopher Marlowe, who raged against its moral constraints, or Michel de Montaigne, a devout Catholic who cloistered his faith in one honoured corner of his life where it would not be disturbed.
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