Utah State University Faculty Monographs

Religion and Revelry in Shakespeare’s Festive World


Religion and Revelry in Shakespeare’s Festive World



Religion and Revelry in Shakespeare’s Festive World re-examines traditional festivity in early modern England and Shakespeare's plays in light of new scholarly understandings of the scope and progress of the English Reformation. Whereas most scholarship on Shakespeare and festivity has stressed the political and social meanings of early modern festivity, Religion and Revelry seeks to restore a sense of the importance of devotional issues to our understanding of the topic. The book argues that Shakespeare is a festive traditionalist whose plays not only acknowledge the relationship between traditional pastimes, stage plays, and religious controversy, but who aligns his own work, on aesthetic though not theological grounds, with festive energies identified with Catholic religious practices. Religion and Revelry also identifies an ongoing association between “popery” and festive pastimes made by both Protestant reformers and some early modern Catholics who practiced traditional festivity as a way of defining their own threatened religious community. In this way, the book contributes to a rich body of recent scholarly literature seeking to reconstruct the place of lingering Catholic ideas, beliefs, and behavior in early modern Protestant culture.




Cambridge University Press

Publication Date



New York


Christianity and literature, Religion, Manners and customs, Festivals, Catholics, Literature

Recommended Citation

Jensen, Phebe. Religion and Revelry in Shakespeare’s Festive World. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.


Also available for sale through the publisher: Cambridge University Press.

Religion and Revelry in Shakespeare’s Festive World