Puritan attitudes towards plays and pleasure in the Age of Shakespeare

Presidential Lecture - Annual Conference 2014

Professor Jackie Eales - President of the HA and Professor of Early Modern History at Canterbury Christ Church University, last updated: 22nd May 2014

'No more cakes and ale': Puritan attitudes towards plays and pleasure in the Age of Shakespeare

In Twelfth Night Shakespeare gently mocked the Puritans, who objected to stage plays and other entertainments. Yet within four decades, the Puritans had closed the London theatres and were about to seize power from Charles I. Among their many reforms were the banning of Christmas celebrations and of Twelfth Night itself. What then lay behind the Puritan war on cakes and ale, plays and pleasure in the seventeenth century?

No more cakes and ale: Puritan attitudes towards plays and pleasure in the Age of Shakespeare