My book, Words of Power: Reading Shakespeare and the Bible, was released in May 2016 by the Lutterworth Press in Cambridge. It’s written for the general reader, and takes a look at the way these two collections are treated as “sacred texts” in modern culture. Along the way it explores questions about the canon, textual criticism, performance, quotation and who “owns” these works. There are spaniels, bishops, statues, camp portrayals of Osric in Hamlet and lots of controversy across many centuries. Below are a few things readers and reviewers have said about it. The publisher is currently offering it at a discount and there is also a Kindle edition.
“This excellent study provides a fresh and intriguing approach to the cultural status of what Jem Bloomfield calls ‘Shakespeare and the Bible’. Engagingly written and full of surprising insights” (Dr. Beatrice Groves, Oxford University)
“This is a brilliant book. Almost every page contains at least one startlingly fresh insight or fabulous turn of phrase. Jem Bloomfied’s highly original comparison between the ways in which the Bible and Shakespeare are revered and used forces us to revisit and re-examine all our assumptions about canonical literature.” (Rev. Dr. Miranda Threlfall-Holmes)
“Jem Bloomfield is thunderously successful in stimulating readers to look in fresh ways at these twin peaks of English literary culture. This short book is not only a book about the Bible and Shakespeare, but on the nature of texts in general: how they are formd and performed, how they become ‘sacred’, how they form communities and function within culturs, and how they can help us appreciate the ‘remarkable strangeness’ of both the past and present.’ (John Halton, Curlew River)