Jours de Fête
Mark Thornton Burnett
- Shakespeare’s Festive World: Elizabethan Seasonal Entertainment and the Professional Stage by François Laroque, translated by Janet Lloyd
Cambridge, 423 pp, £45.00, September 1991, ISBN 0 521 37549 5
When Shakespeare et la fête appeared in 1988, it was building upon approaches already established in the studies of C.L. Barber, E.K. Chambers and Enid Welsford which related Shakespeare’s plays to Elizabethan calendrical customs. What distinguished Laroque’s book, however, was the breadth of its documentation and discussion, which spanned the entire corpus of Shakespeare’s writings, and its enviable command of recent explorations of popular culture, many of them the work of French folklorists and anthropologists. Now, much altered, it appears in English. Laroque has added further illustrations, comment about theatre audiences, reference to folio and quarto variants in Shakespeare, consideration of New Historicist interpretations of the period by Stephen Greenblatt, Louis Montrose, Steven Mullancy and Peter Stallybrass (among others) and a chapter on Othello. This is less a translation than a new study in its own right.