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"Shakespeare and the Bible are two of the icons of world culture. They are interwoven into the language and customs of much of the English-speaking world, from turns of phrase which people instinctively borrow to express their own feelings, to the grand state occasions which bolster their own authority. Their stories and characters are used by people to sell cigars and crown monarchs, to start wars and to comfort the grieving, to crack jokes and train businesspeople. They are sources of enormous authority and, at the same time, part of everyday life. Many people declare their belief in, or allegiance to, these books, and many others suggest that somehow all knowledge is bound up within them. They are both “sacred texts” in the broadest sense, being treated in distinctively different ways from other books. This volume is an exploration of some of the ways Shakespeare and the Bible are revered and understood in British and American culture, drawing on academic scholarship and history to elucidate the particular roles they play in our societies. The contrasts can be just as illuminating as the comparisons. Throughout 'Words of Power' Jem Bloomfield focuses less on the meaning of the texts, but the ways those meanings are contested, reinterpreted and played out in the world."