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More than a Play of Fancy

Spirit in the Works of William Shakespeare

November 2015
More details
  • Publisher
  • Published
    3rd November 2015
  • ISBN 9781621481416
  • Language English
  • Pages 256 pp.
  • Size 5.5" x 8.5"

The undisputed virtuosity of William Shakespeare’s theatrical works—and their perennial relationship to the experience of being human—assures their continued importance in the cultural life of the twenty-first century. However, Shakespeare is a subject of interest beyond the theater; his life and work remain among the foremost themes of literary and historical scholarship. 

Nonetheless, virtually every scholarly commentary on Shakespeare’s dramas remains unsatisfying on a deeper level. This is because the profound depths of these plays are not, in fact, accessible to a strictly intellectual approach. Shakespeare’s “realism” relates just as much to the world we inhabit in our dreams as it does to our everyday consciousness. Taken as a whole, Shakespeare’s dramas are characterized by the interplay of a brightly colored, dynamic “dream” world and a “real” world of authentic, even archetypal, psychological insight. This dual-nature of Shakespeare’s plays serves as the author’s point of departure in this book.

Using seven of his most loved and performed plays as examples, Willem Frederik Veltman uncovers the spiritual reality that hides—in full view, as an open secret—in Shakespeare’s world of images. 

This exciting study looks at The Merchant of Venice; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Macbeth; Hamlet; As You Like It; The Winter’s Tale; and The Tempest. 

Willem Frederik Veltman

Willem Frederik Veltman (1923–2018) was born in The Hague, Netherlands. During the Nazi era, he encountered the work of Rudolf Steiner. He was later a teacher for 41 years at the Waldorf school in The Hague, where he taught French, art history, and the humanities and directed many theatrical productions. Veltman was active in the international Waldorf school movement and lectured on spiritual-scientific subjects in the Netherlands and elsewhere. He published many books on the history of culture and wrote plays for students in the upper grades, as hundreds of articles for the educational magazine Vrije Opvoedkunst (Free Education).