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Botanical Culture and Popular Belief in Shakespeare's England

by Lander Johnson, B.

  • Hardback £85.00
  • New Book Availability : Not yet published
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  • Catalogue No : 58500
  • ISBN : 9781009396523
  • Published : JULY 2024
  • Cover : Hardback
  • Pages : 202

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The Shakespearean stage offered London playgoers a glimpse of the illiterate and rural plant cultures rapidly disappearing from their increasingly urban and sophisticated lives. The same cultures also circulated in popular texts offstage: bawdy tree ballads, botanical tales, almanacs and accounts of kitchen physic. In this book the author argues that, while Shakespeare's plants offered audiences a nostalgic vision of childhood, domestic education and rural pastimes, this was in fact done with an ironic gesture that claimed for illiterate culture an intellectual relevance ignored by the learned and largely Protestant realm of print. Addressing a long-standing imbalance in early modern scholarship, she reveals how Shakespeare's plays - and the popular, low botanical beliefs they represent - engaged with questions usually deemed high, literate and elite: theological and liturgical controversies, the politics of state, England's role in Elizabethan naval conflict and the increasingly learned realm of medical authority.

* Reveals surprising and overlooked interactions between early modern illiterate popular culture and learned discourse, demonstrating that illiterates knew what literates were writing about them and in fact responded through ballads and other popular arts

* Provides a stimulating introduction to popular cultural practices and belief surrounding plants and to how they appear in Shakespeare's plays

* Shows the extent to which popular arts, including Shakespeare's plays, attempted to hold onto a sacramental understanding of nature

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