Front cover image for Shakespeare's tribe : church, nation, and theater in Renaissance England

Shakespeare's tribe : church, nation, and theater in Renaissance England

Jeffrey Knapp (Author)
"Most critics characterize Shakespeare and his tribe of fellow English playwrights and players as resolutely secular, interested in religion only as a matter of politics or as a rival source of popular entertainment. Yet as Jeffrey Knapp demonstrates in this bold new reading, a surprising number of writers throughout the English Renaissance, including Shakespeare himself, thought of plays as supporting the cause of true religion." "To be sure, Renaissance playwrights rarely sermonized in their works, which seemed preoccupied with sex, violence, and crime. And acting during the early modern period was typically regarded as a kind of vice. But scores of people working in theater used their alleged godlessness to advantage, claiming that it enabled them to save wayward souls that the church might otherwise not reach. The stage, they felt, made possible an ecumenical ministry that could help transform Reformation England into a more inclusive Christian society." "Drawing, then, on a variety of celebrated and little-known plays, along with a host of other documents and texts of the English Renaissance, Knapp explores the different assumptions that shaped belief in the theater's religious potential. Shakespeare's Tribe traces the remarkable affinities between ritual and drama; considers the idea of plays as enactments of communion; examines the uncertain relationship between Protestant and national identities; and deals squarely with vexed debates over Shakespeare's religious convictions. What results is an ambitious and wide-ranging work that will profoundly change the way we think about Shakespeare and the world he inhabited."--Jacket
Print Book, English, 2002
University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2002
Criticism, interpretation, etc
xvi, 277 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
9780226445694, 9780226445700, 0226445690, 0226445704
Good fellows
Part one. England and Christendom
Rogue nationalism
This blessed plot
Part two. Church and theater
Preachers and players