Protestant Culture and the Cultural Revolution

  • Patrick Collinson


If ‘culture’ be understood, not as anthropologists understand the word (or social historians when they speak of ‘popular culture’), but as meant by Goering when he is supposed to have said that whenever he heard the word he reached for his revolver,1 then according to a certain widespread prejudice there is no need to draw a gun on English Protestantism, since it produced no culture of its own but made an iconoclastic holocaust of the culture which already existed. The efflorescence of high culture in the age of Shakespeare is conventionally packaged and labelled as the English (or Elizabethan) Renaissance, a secular achievement which involved a degree of emancipation from the dominance of religion and was consequently facilitated by the Protestant Reformation, but only in a negative sense. No one turns Shakespeare himself into a chapter of the English Reformation.


Popular Culture Cultural Revolution Popular Music Henry VIII Perfect Colour 
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Copyright information

© Patrick Collinson 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Collinson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CambridgeUK

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