Shakespeare's Catholic context was the most important literary discovery of the last century. In Secret Shakespeare, Richard Wilson asks why the dramatist remained so enigmatic about his own beliefs, and so silent on the atrocities he survived. Shakespeare constructed a drama not of discovery, like his rivals, but of darkness, deferral, evasion and disguise, where, for all his hopes of a "golden time" of future toleration, "What's to come" is always unsure. Whether or not "He died a papist," it is because we can never "pluck out the heart" of his mystery that Shakespeare's plays retain their unique potential to resist.
This is essential reading for all scholars of Shakespeare and Renaissance studies.