This book is the product of many years of reading, thinking, and discussion. At an early stage in my research on The Bible in Shakespeare, I received generous support from The Ohio State University (Mansfield Campus) and The Francis Bacon Foundation at the Huntington Library. A Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars (from the American Council of Learned Societies) and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship enabled me to spend two years at the Folger Shakespeare Library. At The Ohio State University (Columbus), Valerie Lee (then Chair of English) and John Roberts (then Dean of the College of Humanities) made it possible for me to take these two years of research leave.
This was a scholar's fantasy come true, and I am deeply grateful to these people and institutions, and to the superb Folger staff for their assistance, encouragement, and warm collegiality. I thank in particular Gail Kern Paster, Richard Kuhta, Steve Enniss, Georgianna Ziegler, Steve Galbraith, Carol Brobeck, Kathleen Lynch, Elizabeth Walsh, LuEllen DeHaven, Camille Seerattan, Rosalind Larry, and Harold Batie. The Folger is like the Grand Central Station of international early modernists, and I benefited greatly from the valuable insights and interest in this project expressed by many of these new friends and colleagues. My co-fellows during the first year were Katherine Eggert, Linda Levy Peck, Julia Rudolph, and Wolfram Schmidgen. We were an especially close and collegial group, and the teas, lunches, drinks, and dinners we shared, full of true conviviality—intellectual, cultural, social, personal––seem to me the ideal of scholarly society. In my second year, Jonathan Gil Harris, Caroline M. Hibbard, Erik Midelfort, Alec Ryrie, and David Schalkwyk were also stalwart companions in the tea room and beyond. Others whose company I enjoyed and benefited from include Kim Coles, Thomas Freeman, Gerard Kilroy, Tobias Gregory, Anne McKeithen, Robert Miola, Jason Rosenblatt, Rebecca Totarro, and the late Marshall Grossman, who prophesied then that this book would take longer to complete than those two years, and I am sorry he did not live to see how right he was.
Portions of this book have been published previously, and I am grateful to Notre Dame University Press for permission to reprint, as Chapter 8, “The Patience of Lear” from Arthur F. Marotti and Ken Jackson (eds), Shakespeare and Religion: Early Modern and Postmodern Perspectives (Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press, 2011), 127–62; and to the (p.viii) Beinecke Library for permission to reprint, as part of Chapter 5, “The Bible, Coriolanus, and Shakespeare's Modes of Allusion,” from Jennifer Lewin (ed.), Never Again Would Birds’ Song Be the Same: New Essays on Poetry and Poetics, Renaissance to Modern ([New Haven]: Beinecke Library, 2002): 73–91.
Many of my ideas about Shakespeare's biblical allusions have been tested in conference papers and discussions, and I am grateful for all those who listened and responded, including especially Sarah Beckwith, Arthur Marotti, Richard McCoy, Steve Mentz, and Annabel Patterson. After more than a decade, I am sure to be forgetting many others, for which I hope they will forgive me and accept my general thanks. In particular, though, I thank Mark Rankin and Erin E. Kelly for inviting me to participate in an SAA seminar in 2009 on Shakespeare and Religion; Nick Moschovakis for inviting me to lead, along with Joseph Pucci, a seminar on Allusion at the 2010 conference of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers; and Thomas Fulton for inviting me to join an SAA seminar in 2012 on Reading Shakespeare and the Bible. The members of all these seminars provided valuable feedback and stimulating discussion. Like anyone studying the Bible in Shakespeare, I owe an immense debt to the labors of Naseeb Shaheen. I regret never having met Professor Shaheen, who died in 2009, but I was pleased to be able to express my gratitude for his work posthumously in a 2012 lecture at the opening of the Naseeb Shaheen Antiquarian Bible Collection at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Heather Hirschfeld and Jennifer Benedetto Beals were the best of hosts at that event.
My colleagues at The Ohio State University have been uniformly supportive and intellectually stimulating, but I would like especially to thank Barbara McGovern, Norman W. Jones, John N. King, Richard Dutton, Alan Farmer, Jennifer Higginbotham, Christopher Highley, and Luke Wilson. Like many scholars, I have probably taken more good ideas from students than I am aware of, but I acknowledge in particular my graduate students in a rewarding seminar on Biblical Allusion in Renaissance Literature in 2010.
My editors at Oxford University Press have exhibited something like the patience of Job in waiting for this book. The tidal wave that was the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible and deaths in the family swept me away from this project, and it took some time to swim back to shore. Jacqueline Baker has been an exemplary editor, and my many questions about this and that were answered promptly and ably by Rachel Platt and Jenny Townsend. I would also like to thank my production editor Shereen Karmali, Prabhavathy Parthiban from SPi Global, and my copy-editor, Hilary Walford.
(p.ix) Finally, I dedicate this book to my father, Cyrus Hamlin, who was at various places (the University of Toronto and Yale) and at various times Professor of English, of German, and of Comparative Literature. Though I am not sure I remember it myself, he took me to see Hamlet in Oxford starring Derek Jacobi when I was 5 years old. Apparently, when the ghost appeared, I crouched down behind the seat in front, peering fearfully over the top. Though a specialist in German Romanticism, my father taught both Shakespeare (at Toronto, with Northrop Frye) and the Bible (at Yale, with Hans Frei), and he was keen on my work on the Bible in Shakespeare from its earliest days. Sadly, he did not live to see the book finished and in print. The rest of my family, both Hamlins and Martins, have lived with this book a long time, and I thank them for their patience. My wife, Cori Martin, has been as always my muse, my best editor, and my staunchest support. She will also be more pleased than anyone that this book is finally done.