What Katherine Eggert means by disknowledge is “knowing something isn’t true but believing it anyway” (jacket copy). The subtitle of her book, Literature, Alchemy, and the End of Humanism in Renaissance England, gives a good indication of its scope and Eggert’s intention. An important companion to the book is her Shakespeare Quarterly article “Hamlet’s Alchemy: Transubstantiation, Modernity, Belief” (Eggert 2013). She starts from positions taken by Stephen Greenblatt and Sarah Beckwith, who agree that modern skepticism was born when Christians began to question Roman Catholicism on the sacraments. If a sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, it poses the dilemma of trusting one’s own eyes: how can water confer salvation, or a piece of bread Christ’s sacrifice? As the Anglican Book of Common Prayer has it: “Transubstantiation (or the change of...

You do not currently have access to this content.