Protestant Culture and the Cultural Revolution

  • Patrick Collinson

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Coherence Straw Cane Ghost Crest 

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Notes

  1. 16.
    Glynne Wickham, Early English Stages 1300 to 1660, I (1959) p. 71.Google Scholar
  2. 26.
    E. J. Baskerville, ‘John Ponet in Exile: a Ponet Letter to John Bale’, in Journal of Ecclesiastical History, XXXVII (1986) 442–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 33.
    Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, XIV (ii) pp. 11-12; BL, MS Harley 425, fols 4-7; Acts and Monuments of Foxe, VIII, pp. 458-60; William Wilkinson, A confutation of certaine articles (1579), excerpted in John Strype, Annals of the Reformation, II ii (Oxford, 1824) pp. 282–3Google Scholar
  4. 41.
    Temperley, Music of the English Parish Church, pp. 36, 63, 67, 34-5; H. G. Koenigsberger, ‘Music and Religion in Early Modern European History’, in Koenigsberger, Politicians and Virtuosi: Essays in Early Modern History (1986) pp. 179-210. See also H. P. Clive, ‘The Calvinist Attitude to Music’, in Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance, XX (1958) 302–7.Google Scholar
  5. 42.
    Quoted by Sandra Clark in The Elizabethan Pamphleteers: Popular Moralistic Pamphlets 1580–1640 (1983) p. 140. On the appearance and growth of the antitheatrical prejudice see William A. Ringler, ‘The First Phase of the Elizabethan Attack on the Stage 1558–1579’, in Huntington Library Quarterly, V (1942) 391–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. R. W. Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage, I (Oxford, 1923) pp. 242–56Google Scholar
  7. 54.
    Susan Foister, ‘Paintings and Other Works of Art in Sixteenth-Century English Inventories’, in Burlington Magazine, CXXIII (1981) 273–82.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Patrick Collinson 1988

Authors and Affiliations

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

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