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Shakespeare's Festive ComedyA Study of Dramatic Form and Its Relation to Social Custom$
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Cesar Lombardi Barber

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691149523

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691149523.001.0001

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Holiday Custom and Entertainment

Holiday Custom and Entertainment

(p.16) Two Holiday Custom and Entertainment
Shakespeare's Festive Comedy

C. L. Barber

Princeton University Press

During Shakespeare's lifetime, England became conscious of holiday custom as it had not been before, in the very period when in many areas the keeping of holidays was on the decline. Shakespeare, coming to London from a rich market town, growing up in the relatively unselfconscious 1570s and 1580s and writing his festive plays in the decade of the 1590s, when most of the major elements in English society enjoyed a moment of reconcilement, was perfectly situated to express both a countryman's participation in holiday and a city man's consciousness of it. This chapter considers two principal forms of festivity, the May games and the Lord of Misrule, noticing particularly how what is done by the group of celebrants involves the composition of experience in ways which literature and drama could take over.

Keywords:   Elizabethan holidays, Elizabethan festivals, May Game, Lord of Misrule, holiday custom

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