Rising From the Dead

Despite the relentless efforts of diehard revisionists, those intellectual terrorists who seem to be bound and determined to explode and reduce to rubble the best of our Western heritage, the ancient and honorable vocation of scholarship continues, patiently adding to our sum of knowledge and appreciation and perhaps even understanding of the living past, undeterred by the ruthless thought police and by the trendy designers who are transforming the groves of academe into a spotlight fashion runway. The scholar continues "descending / The cast-iron stair of the stacks, shuffling his papers," in a poem by Richard Wilbur ("For W.H. Auden") and in "real life." Here, from the ranks of recent studies of some aspects of the Elizabethan Age, are three exemplary models of the ways and means of contemporary scholarship.

Brownlow's Shakespeare, Harsnett, and the Devils of Denham is a classic work of scholarship, scrupulous, exact and exacting, finally wise, sometimes witty ("Comedy has a hard time surviving miracle books and ecclesiastical courts, but that docs not mean it was never there." "Writers who expose preternatural or supernatural fraud seldom attract a very large audience.") and often as subtle as it is persuasive. The book is a complete and up-to-date reworking and rearrangement of Brownlow's important, unpublished dissertation of 1963. At heart, we have a strictly...

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