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Shakespeare's Festive World

Shakespeare's Festive World
Elizabethan Seasonal Entertainment and the Professional Stage

Part of European Studies in English Literature

Sir Keith Thomas
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  • Date Published: September 1993
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521457866


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About the Authors
  • This book offers an exciting new perspective on Shakespeare's relation to popular culture. Shakespeare's plays draw extensively on the events and traditions of Elizabethan festivals and holidays, mingling popular and aristocratic or royal forms of entertainment in ways that combine or clash to produce new meaning, offering surprises which anticipate the Stuart masque. This process evolved from the early, romantic comedies into the late plays which recover the celebrations and patterns of renewal initiated in the 'green world': the values of festivity are inverted in the comedy of misrule, and finally perverted in the darker forms of the history plays and tragedies. Francois Laroque reconstructs the principal events, customs and games of the Elizabethan festive tradition, and reconsiders Shakespeare's technique in this context.

    • Explores Shakespeare's debt to popular culture
    • Foreword by Sir Keith Thomas
    • Revised and updated for this first English translation
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'French scholarship teaches us ample European perspectives for Shakespeare's Renaissance art, and Francois Laroque has the rare ability to move gracefully between the ritual history of theatre and the fine detail of the plays.' Philip Brockbank

    '[Laroque] has performed a service to the scholarly community in restoring history to the New Historicism. The publication of Shakespere's Festive World is something to celebrate.' London Review of Books

    'One of those rare book which teaches us to think like a person of a different culture…A lucid and imaginative book which combines an impressive breadth of knowledge with sensitivity to detail.' Cashiers Elisabethains

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 1993
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521457866
    • length: 440 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 151 x 30 mm
    • weight: 0.705kg
    • contains: 16 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Foreword Sir Keith Thomas
    Part I. Introduction: Festivity During the Elizabethan Age:
    1. Festivity and popular beliefs in the Elizabethan age
    2. Festivity and society in Shakespeare's time
    3. The calendar
    4. The cycle of calendary festivals
    5. The non-calendary festivals
    Part II. Introduction: Some Anthropological and Historical Perspectives on Literary Analysis:
    6. Festivity and dramatic structure: methodological problems
    7. Festivity and time in Shakespeare's plays
    8. Festivity and society in Shakespeare's plays
    9. Festivity and its images in Shakespeare's plays
    10. Othello and the festive traditions
    Appendix I: Calendars
    Appendix II: Iconography

  • Author

    Frangois Laroque


    Sir Keith Thomas

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